Is your life a check list?
Check list Christianity. I had been a member of that thought of Christianity before. Read the Bible more than Sunday, be a good person, pray before every meal, and for heaven’s sake every time the church has something you better be there! I did my best to make all the checks. I was never able to make it to the prestige level of some of the so called “warriors” of the faith. So my faith and my passion faded. I still loved the Lord and was still trying to strengthen my relationship with Him, but resolved in my mind that I could never be at the check list level needed for “super Christian” or “warrior” level. So, I went along living my Christian life with a weight on my shoulders of wishing I could check off more things but knowing I couldn’t.
A few years later God brought me to a church of people who were really “real.” God had gotten a hold of their lives and done a complete change on them, but they were honest about the day to day struggle. There wasn’t a check list as much as just taking one day at a time and growing purely in relationship with Christ. There wasn’t a sense of in order to be used by God you have to have all the checks checked. Instead it was the message that God can use you no matter where you come from, what you have been through, or what your past was. It was about grace and walking in the knowledge that just like any relationship there will be ups and downs, but knowing that God is walking along side and is there to help us up when we stumble.
Learning that was a breath of fresh air to freshman in college me. I was struggling with being bold for Christ, but also wanting to have friends and experience life on my own…and I was struggling with what that looked like which meant I didn’t always get it right. Knowing this helped me not be ever increasingly weighted down by the missed checks until I might have called it quits. That was why I was surprised when about five years later it hit me that I was still not getting it. I was still basing my worth of being able to be used by Christ on how many checks I had checked off that day or week. To be honest, I had been wearing myself physically and emotionally down trying to prove my worthiness. Until I broke down and realized I had to understand God’s grace. I had to understand that God loved me with a passion even if I didn’t check a single so called check box.
Is your faith walk more check box focused or Jesus focused?
I know it’s easy for me to get swept up by the desire to reach the lost world for Christ and wanting to go to every church activity and check off all the check boxes of my faith walk. I make to do lists, and I have great pleasure in checking them off. But a genuine relationship isn’t like that. Which is why our faith, our relationship with Christ can’t be either. All the things that I’m apart of are good. They are things that are encouraging my spiritual growth and are reaching out to the lost. Good things! Which is why it’s easy to think, “I have to do it all! All the time!” But that’s not the truth. Just look at the model of Jesus during his time on Earth. He spent time away to pray. (Luke 5:16, Mathew 14:23, Mark 1:35) Why is it that we assume that doesn’t apply to us? Our day in and day out should be Jesus focused. After all He is our strength and source of real life. Our lives shouldn’t be so guilt ridden when we occasionally miss a Bible study or a Sunday service to simply be still in His presence. To listen for His still small voice to speak to our hearts or to simply cry our hearts out from the burden of the hurt in the world around us. We are created to be “warriors” for Christ by spending time with Him, just Him, alone, in the still silence, gaining our wisdom and strength from Him.
This life isn’t about whoever dies with the most checked boxes wins. It’s about who spent time walking in close fellowship with Christ, who trusted Him, grew in their relationship with Him, and as a result planted seeds, and reached the lost around them. It is about walking with Christ so that the world truly does see Christ in me.