Tonight at a Toronto concert I spoke a message laced with things I often emphasize with Project 12 students.
Core issues included: We cannot live our Christian life vicariously through our Christian heros, our parents, pastors or musicians, etc.. We MUST have a genuine personal (though shared and accountable) walk with Jesus. My other key point was that our first mission field is exactly where we are, not where we think we’ll eventually be.
It does no good to think that we have a growing spiritual life when we are in reality camping out on a plateau of sorts, fairly dead in the water. Some think “I’m saved, I’m a believer, what else is essential?” My response is that Jesus calls us to follow Him, not simply know we’re saved by grace and end up living a kindergarten Christian life for the next 30 or 40 years!
I’m often reminding P12’ers that if they have at times rightly judged older Christians in terms of lethargy, stagnation and surface living, they will not be one bit more mature in Christ themselves unless they take God’s Word (commands as well as promises) seriously and apply the simple teachings in their daily relationships.
Loading up with information -even the very Truth of God’s Word itself- does not automatically equal spiritual formation and growth.
I support, uphold and -do- a lot of travel in the world as a missionary. JPUSA as most all churches Christians would consider healthy and full of life, does daily mission work on many levels. But some of us think we can pay others, pray for others and basically expect others to BE missionaries -for- (or instead of) us.
Nobody reflects Jesus to your neighbor, the needy person in a church service, the stranger near you or your next-door neighbor much less the person you see in school or at work or socialize with: like you can or must! It’s largely relational and your favorite Christian leader likely doesn’t attend your school or work where you do. It’s not their job to do your job in terms of reflecting Jesus to those around you.
Regardless of spiritual gifts and callings, all Christ-followers are called to such ministry.
Therefore, all of us can make a difference as opposed to merely “doing Christian stuff” and taking a “Whatever?!!” attitude toward the Lord, His Word or our neighbor.
Sadly, many choose “average” when in fact average is nearly synonymous with “shallow” if not fully “slack”.
A. W. Tozer said “Refuse to be average”. Amen! We must not pretend the “average” Christian life is what we should aim at!
God help us move beyond “the norm” if/when the norm is sterile and uninspiring to those around us.