Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Salvation is a Life

I started reading The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard this last week. I have been in search of understanding what makes the Christian life so much different from the non-Christian. Yes, I know that I believe in the redemptive work of Christ that saves me from my sins and gives me the gift of eternal life with Him, but how is my day-to-day life is different from just another "good-acting" person I pass on the street, work with, or am friends with? When we were in high school we were asked what our "life verse" was...maybe to put in a profile at graduation? I can't remember, anyway, I chose Romans 12:1-2, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spirtual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." That seems about right...in response to the mercy of God (saving us through the sacrifice of His Son) we give our lives to him as a sacrifice. We seek to be transformed by Christ, not conforming to the way the world lives around us. It sounds so nice and simple as I type these sentences...but that is not how it plays out in daily life. I want to know how to take this mental picture of Christianity and translate it to be played out by my life, my body, my day-to-day actions. I understand that due to my upbringing in a Christian home and Church attendance I have morals and values that guide me to do the "right" thing, but it doesn't feel like that comes from a well-spring of life flowing out of me from Christ...it feels more like my mind telling my body what is expected of me based on external factors and expectations. However, that feeling is just a feeling and there are times when I feel God working in me, through me, doing things I wouldn't do without his power, grace or love, but those times aren't often enough for my contentment. I want to be a Christian who understands how to live this short life on earth to the fullest. I want people to see that my "good" deeds come from something besides my own moral code. I want to be continually transformed into Christ's likeness so that God may do his work through me here on earth.

It comes down to learning how to live the Christian life...not just an experience that seals your eternal life, but a life that means something in the Kingdom of God.

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

"God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has life." 1 John 5:11-12

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:10

So I will continue to seek and understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ with my body, not just my mind. Hopefully, my commitment to this journey will not be fleeting...as intentions are one thing, but follow through is another. Something I am working on this new year.

Here are some of the thoughts from the chapter that I liked...
  • "...the secret of the easy yoke is immersing and persisting in the overall style of life that characterized Jesus." p. 28
  • "...we tend to think of the body and its functions as only a hindrance to our spiritual calling, with no positive role in our redemption or in our participation in the government of God." p.30
  • "To withhold our bodies from religion is to exclude religion from our lives." p.31
  • "Spirituality in human beings is not an extra or "superior" mode of existence. It's not a hidden stream of separate reality, a separate life running parallel to our bodily existence. It does not consist of special 'inward' acts even though it has an inner aspect. It is rather, a relationship of our embodied selves to God that has the natural and irrepressable effect of making us alive to the Kingdom of God - here and now in the material world." p. 31
  • "Through what is in reality an astonishing lack of faith, the church removes itself from the substance of life. Powerless over life, it stands to one side, and God is left without a dwelling place through which he could effectively occupy the world in the manner he intends." p.30
  • "The message of Jesus himself and of the early disciples was not just one of the forgiveness of sins, but rather was one of newness of life..." p.36
  • "The resurrection was a cosmic event only because it validated the reality and indestructability of what Jesus had preached and exemplified before his death-the enduring reality and openness of God's Kingdom...the Kingdom would go on." p.37
  • "...the idea of redemption as the impartation of a life provides a totally different framework of understanding...that life will be poised to become a life of the same quality as Christ's, because it indeed is Christ's. He really does live on in us. The incarnation continues." p.38

1 comment:

Emily said...

Wow, that is something big to think about. Wish we could get together and have coffee. I miss you soooooo much! Bacione!

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