Friday, October 17, 2008

Works - Part 4 of 4

I really think that our life in Christ is a life that doesn't look like what many Christians today see it as. For many, it's a life that revolves around "church." Many of the works that Christians are exhorted to do seem to be centered around church programs, ministries, outreaches, etc. Not that any of them are necessarily bad in and of themselves, but how often do Christians get wrapped up in those things and don't really live out the life of the person God has truly made them to be.

I personally had the guilt laid on me (perhaps mostly self-inflicted) because I quit working all the works I was expected to work in "the church," including but not limited to joining in on all the church activities and outreaches. None of them seemed to be appealing to my heart, and I felt guilty because I felt as if I was neglecting the "doing" of some very good things, including things that many people felt "needed" to be done. But I had come to the conclusion that all I was really doing was going through the motions with a lot of the stuff. The good news was that, since I'd come to have a strong foundation of who I am in Christ, I had an understanding within myself that I actually was a "doer" in so many other ways that simply didn't have the appearance of "church activity," but were really a result of walking in who I am in Christ. I've all too often found that what I'm called to do isn't what everyone else expects of me! It's been a struggle to truly discover that, but I think I'm finally free in that respect.

The "instructions" I had received implied that the work I needed to be involved in centered around Church Activity A, B and C, and then I was to sacrifice myself some more and also be involved in Activities D, E and F as well! But I discovered that God has many different "members" in Christ's body. We are all unique, and we walk in the works that God created for us to walk in, individually and as a body. Sometimes those works may indeed be "church activities," but so much of life is lived apart from the assembling of the saints - far away from whatever building we may have met in - and we walk as who we are wherever we are!

Look at the good works (the works of faith) that the saints mentioned in Hebrews 11 walked in. How much of it was forced or contrived? How much of it was "church work?" How much of it was based upon biblical instructions??? Heck, look at the work Paul and the apostles did! Look at what the people of the early church did. They didn't have "New Testament instructions" to follow. Wasn't it as simple as walking in the new life they'd been given, and encouraging one another and spurring one another on toward love and good deeds? There's plenty of room for instructing and correcting one another, but is that really the basis of the Christian life?


  1. I was consumed with activities within the church.. always on duty that it became a burden and I lost sight of what was most important.. You have put some very good points to your blog1

  2. As the pastor of a large church, we are experiencing some amazing things in the lives of people who are growing in His love. Fortunately, we started the church from scratch a few years ago with God's grace (not our works) as the foundation. It is SO refreshing, especially for those of us teachers who were able to escape the California Bible Belt that had choked us for years.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. I think one of the important point you made was about the way the people lived right after the day of Pentecost.

    Heck, look at the work Paul and the apostles did! Look at what the people of the early church did.

    They did not have any NT instructions in any written form. They literally followed the Spirit. They did this in every aspect of their lives - coming together, communion, sharing, giving, hospitality etc. I don't think they were motivated and manipulated by emotion-hiking sermons. They were told the truth and they depended on the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of New Covenant living. And they lived a life of freedom.

  4. Getting there,

    I can relate to all of that! I think many people are coming to the same realization and it's great that in this wonderful world of blogging is helping to connect people in such a way as to provide relief, and help in being who we were truly created to be.


    God's grace as the foundation - that's what it's all about! How wonderful that your church is experiencing those amazing things as a result. Yeah, that bible belt choke hold... I know it well... LOL... here in my own city and state and experience. So glad to be free!


    So true! Even when it came to various words about what 'church' looked like in regards to everyone being the 'member of the body' that they were, it wasn't about fear or manipulation to walk a certain way, or hype or motivational speeches. It wasn't about becoming frenzied in a flurry of church activities. It was a matter of loving one another as they, as you say, depended upon the Holy Spirit.

  5. A matter of desire over duty. It's a love thang. ;)

  6. RJW,

    Right on... It's moving "from duty to delight," as Steve McVey says in Grace Walk. =D

  7. Great series Joel thanks. I like this part>>>

    "It's been a struggle to truly discover that, but I think I'm finally free in that respect."

    Something for me to look forward to.

  8. Yep, Leonard, it's by no means been instantaneous, and I even look forward to discovering more and more of it. In my case it's involved several times of trying to 'compromise' who I really believe I am with what others expect of me, and discovering that it just doesn't fit. I've stayed with the scriptures as best as I've understood them, and with the Father's leading in my life, and over time I've seen how I've walked in His unique 'plan' for my life, and even through some of the hard times it's emerged as something very sweet.