It was not just our “normal” routine this morning. In fact, one of the most profound things I am learning as the years go by is that it has never been routine. After going to church my entire life, I could easily write off every Sunday as “something that I’ve always done, and will always do.” One of the biggest challenges in my life as a Christian is to NEVER allow myself to feel as if being a Christian is routine.
Routine is defined as regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure. Synonyms for routine are ordinary and typical. If any of you reading this now have ever lived for a moment, you know and would agree that there are not too many things in life that would bring excitement and intrigue as something that would be defined by the aforementioned words. Agree? “Hey let’s go to Disneyland! It’s a pretty unimaginative place.” No, you go to Disneyland because it’s always entertaining, exciting, and the quintessential definition of always-evolving imagination. There is another example I have been reading a lot about via Twitter. The ongoing debate of educational practices. There are so many influential educators out there that are trying to break the “routine” of educational practices. Through the implementation of technology, and more importantly, how one uses technology in the classroom to engage the learner. Many, if not all of the educators that I follow on Twitter would agree that education should in no way be associated with the routine. Thus the need for a revolution of thinking in how we approach the students in the classroom with phones, tablets, smart boards, and other devices. Enough with the rote procedures of days gone by. We need to bring education in to the 21st century and stay in tune with more engaging processes of learning and teaching.
That being said, I feel the same way about my faith in Christ. If I allow myself to fall in to the ordinary, mundane, typical routine of faith, in no way will I be effective for Jesus Christ. You know what I’ll be? According to Luke 14:34-35, I won’t even be good enough to be thrown on to a heaping pile of manure!
“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away…” (ESV)
Pretty heavy?! But how true it is. I had the pleasure of seeing this play out in real life. I was involved in a conversation with an individual who was asking how Christianity was different from other religions. He himself stated this about his experiences with other “Christians” (he actually used air quotes in his description of the people he was referring to). “If these people are my examples of living the Christian lifestyle, then I have no just cause to become a Christian.” His entire reasoning was completely justified if he didn’t see the difference in these people’s lives. “What’s the point?” he declared. You know what, I completely agreed with him. If there are people who are proclaiming Jesus Christ, then they better live the radical life that He has described very clearly (Matthew 5:10-11, John 15:20, 2 Timothy 3:12). The life you live in Christ will be different. So different in fact, that it should cause a very clear reaction by those who see and hear from you. God has promised us that truly living for Him will cause others to avoid, persecute, revile, and even hate you. How should you then live as a follower of Christ? Read the following from 1 Peter:
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,…” (1 Peter 3:13-18, ESV)
Being a Christian is a tremendous calling. You are not called to be ordinary, mundane, or typical. You are not called to be a part of some unimaginative, rote procedure. You are called to be radical, different, and set apart. Don’t just go to church because that’s what you’ve done your whole life. Go because you are seeking to draw closer to God, be fed by His Word, and moved by His Spirit. This is the message that I received this morning. It wasn’t delivered by my pastor. It came by way of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. His Word is causing me to constantly look at my life and ask, “Am I being used completely for the Lord in what I’m doing?” “Am I exhausting all possibilities to live for Him in a way that is causing others to see and seek change for their own lives?” “Am I finding contentment in my daily routine because it’s easy and works for me?” What is it that you need to give up? What is it about your routine that is keeping you from walking faithfully according to God’s Word?
It’s time to stop going to church because you need to feel better about yourself. It’s time to stop using church as “restart button”. Listen to the words of Jesus and tell me if it doesn’t cause you to evaluate your life as a Christian.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, ESV)
God bless you as you seek the change you need in your life to get out of the routine and become a true disciple of Jesus Christ!