If you’re like me, you've had to un-learn things you picked up as a child and carried into adulthood, things that you were SURE were true, but simply are not.
For example, for years I thought Navy Seals were ACTUAL seals: special, tactical seals that were trained for war. Yeeeeahh. I also thought all dogs were male, and all cats were females. Not sure why. And for some reason, I thought that whenever my mom gave me Flintstones vitamins, I had to get a different character each time, or else I wouldn’t get ALL the vitamins I needed.
As silly as these were, I actually needed someone I trusted to convince me that these things weren’t true, often repeatedly. It was hard to undo.
I think the same can be said of our theology, our understanding of God. We all have some weird baggage that needs to be undone, and it can take time.
One weird baggage that I often still carry around is the thought that the Christian life is primarily about sin-management. “The thing that makes me a legit Christian is to STOP SINNING” is a worldview that many of us need to be disabused of.
Now, of course, putting to death the deeds of the flesh is HUGE. God desires for us to grow in self-control, and patience, and the like. But any Gospel message primarily focused on stopping sin isn’t radical enough!Jesus didn’t come merely to stop us from doing bad stuff.
I can technically never sin again and still never live up to the potential of someone truly following Jesus passionately. In fact, every one of Jesus’ teachings on behavior were not about avoiding mess-ups, but about us becoming they type of person who DID GOOD.
Jesus’ message was not “DON’T DO unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” It was “DO unto others what you would want done to you.”
There is a galaxy of difference between those two ideas. The first idea is basically a fear-based, don’t-blow-it mentality. The second idea is a passionate, fearless, go-for-it one. God’s desire is for us to grow in love, to become a person who excels at loving others actively and fearlessly.
How can we do this?
Years ago, my mom gave me some great advice on this. She said that when she’s feeling not-so-great, not-so-close to God, not-so-Christian, she would ask herself “If I was a person who was radically in love with Jesus right now, what would I be doing?”
It’s an amazing thought, one that can be used in many areas:
“What would an amazing mom/dad be doing right now?”
“What would the world’s best husband/wife be doing right now?”
“What would an amazing friend be doing right now?”
After my mom asked herself that question, she almost aways would immediately think of the answer, and once she got that answer, she would go and do it. And she'd do it guilt-free and fearlessly, knowing that if she did it imperfectly, it was still far better than doing nothing out of fear or shame.
Pretty cool, right?
Let’s let go of the don’t-mess-up Christianity of our youth. God wants us to be passionate and aggressive in doing good: to others, ourselves, and to Him.
Looking forward to seeing you on the walkway!