When I first started following Jesus, I went around trying to prove it to everyone. Because of this, I was really susceptible to other’s ideas on what it means to be a Christian. If I heard someone up front mention how they don’t listen to secular music, I threw out my CD’s the next day. If someone talked about how they didn’t swear, I switched to “shoot” and “dangit” immediately.
Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong about looking for people to model our faith after. If I’m building a lego set with my boys, it’s nice to have the picture of the finished product on the front of the box to get a good idea what we’re making. Some instructions just make more sense when you can see you’re trying to make a magic castle instead of a battleship. People of faith we admire work like this in our lives and it helps the Bible make more sense sometimes.
However, these models and striving and proving can become something other than healthy spirituality if we’re not careful.
The person who studies apologetics in order to defend the faith may be battling some real inward doubt. Why else would you chase after so many defenses?
I remember, I got so good at praying out loud people started complimenting me afterwards. I had all the right words, weaved in all the right memorized verses, and sprinkled in just the right amount of heartfelt emotion. Looking back, I wonder how much of those prayers were designed to make sure other’s would listen because I wasn’t sure if God was listening.
Sometimes, the ways we try to prove it can become proof of our own insecurities. (1)
I had dinner last night with the sweetest engaged couple. Afterwards, we walked down the streets of Capitol Hill as they shared about their upcoming wedding. As they shared, something that struck me was their decision to not include any traditional Christian symbolism into their wedding. You know, like the unity candle or communion or something. Their reasoning for excluding these symbols was because it felt unnecessary. See, this couple has a deep and profound Christian spirituality. I’ve known them for two years and everything about them glows Jesus. From her passion to end sex trafficking to the way he gravitates to the vulnerable to their desire to selflessly serve everyone around them.
In a very real way, they are their own symbols. Anything more would be, well, redundant. When I think about it, any manufactured and arbitrary symbol on display in addition to their lives would almost be a distraction. The sun doesn’t have to prove to us that it’s bright. We see it’s evidence in the stars, waves, and warmth all around us.
“…that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,” -1 Timothy 2:2-3
I don’t know about you, but that seems like such a better way of living. I’m tired of proving it. I’d much rather produce the kind of fruitful life that is undeniable. I’m so tired of convincing people as a grand cover up for my own insecurities.
I’d rather be loved than be right.
I’d rather have peace than popular opinion.
I’d much rather be inwardly healed that outwardly Christian.
May we live sacrificed lives instead of settling for a cross around our neck.
May we become broken bread and poured out wine instead of a mere ritual of communion.
May the proof be in the pudding.
- Could the woman vehemently opposed to the LGBTQ community be struggling with their own sexual identity? Could the man zealously defending gun rights be battling a tremendous inward fear? Could that athiest Facebook friend who won’t stop Christian bashing articles be experiencing a genuine crises of belief?