Sunday, January 23, 2011

Talking Things Through

It's difficult to know how much to "talk through" on such a public space as a blog. Especially when it concerns the body of Christ. I would never want to say or do anything that hurts the body of Christ. It's just that what I've been seeing lately bothers me a great deal.

There are believers who are content to continue in the traditional way of things; meaning that they are happy to keep on doing things because it's "always been done that way" or that's the way they were taught and so on. I can understand that mentality to a certain extent. I mean, honestly, it's just easier to do things that way or believe like that. Change requires work and inner reflection. Most of us, myself included, don't really like change. However, our relationship with Jesus Christ needs to be one that is constantly changing - for the better.

When we were born physically, we were small and defenseless. We had no other choice but to depend on the knowledge and skills of those in charge of our care. However, the older we got, we were expected to take on more and more responsibilities for our own care. It's the same thing with our spiritual lives. God doesn't want us to remain in infancy. We are to gradually take responsibility for our own personal growth and begin reaching out to others who are young in the faith and help nurture them into spiritual adulthood. This is a challenging thing to do when so many people who should be spiritual mentors, still require mentors themselves, and see no problem with that.

Doing things because they've "always been done that way" might be the easy thing to do, but is it the Biblical thing to do? If we're not even willing to look to Scripture for the answer to that, then our growth will be stunted.

I mentioned that spiritual change and growth requires work and inner reflection. Inner reflection, I think, is too threatening to most. Those of us who have received Christ as our Lord and Savior, although redeemed, are not completely sanctified at the moment of our spiritual birth. Sanctification is something we have to move toward. In Psalm 139:23, the psalmist says, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts". We need to look inside our hearts and ask God to do the same. We need to be willing to recognize any sin that might be lingering there. If we're not willing to do that, our growth will be stunted.

There are other things going through my mind that I am not yet able to put into words. I will try, however, to talk through the mumbled mess in my head. The term "body" that Paul uses so often to describe believers in Christ continues to stand out to me.

There is something about pain in our physical bodies that we do not like, but it is a necessity. If we don't feel pain, we won't know there is potentially a problem. However, if we do feel pain but constantly take pain killers to numb the pain, we might be ignoring THE symptom that our body is trying to get us to notice that there IS a problem (I know I probably could have worded that better, but that is the best I have right now). I believe Paul said that if one member of the body is hurting, then the entire body will hurt. Well, I am a member of the body of Christ, and I'm hurting. I feel more like an artificial limb than an actual body part. That might not be the best description, because it's not that I don't feel like a legitimate member of Christ's body, I know without a doubt that I am. Like I said, I'm not quite able to put my thoughts into words right now. I'm still talking things through.


Dean Lusk said...

"Doing things because they've 'always been done that way' might be the easy thing to do, but is it the Biblical thing to do? If we're not even willing to look to Scripture for the answer to that, then our growth will be stunted."

You're right! And I can't see how intentionally turning a blind eye to Scripture could glorify God or how it would please Him.

Maybe the biggest obstacle is that Christians -- especially those who've been teachers, etc. and have studied the Word -- tend to think that they essentially know it all. They won't say that and may not honestly believe that, but there's an underlying assumption that if they don't "know it all," they can't really teach people. That's a huge error, and it's a massive stubmling block for people in that position.

If you stay with this mindset, know that some (maybe lots) of Christians and those who call themselves Christians will ostracize you; they will not only not want to hear what you're saying, but they will assume that you're following some man-made doctrine you've read; not the Bible. Ironically, exactly the opposite of that is true. When we read the Word for what it says (and don't begin with extra-Biblical foudnational principles, like "our denomination does things THIS way"), I believe that we'll be in for a big surprise. A surprise that not everyone will be happy to learn about.

Lee said...

Well said, Christy. I even followed your "However, if we do feel pain" comment. :)

Anonymous said...

Personal and spiritual growth does require work and inner reflection. My question would be for any individual would be are you/any individual so focused on what the body is not being... i.e. growing, not in God's word that we become elitist in our views?

Really doesn't it come down to what I am working on in my own spiritual life? Am I using my talents? Am I being the person God wants me to be?

I personally don't feel like an artificial limb and you should not either. Use your talents, be the mentor, encourage others, participate in the body rather than witdrawing from it.

Is the current church body where it should be? By all means no, but my encouragement to you would be to use your talents and participate - no matter if you feel like it or not. It's about being obedient to what God has given you talent wise and where you are spiritually.