Over the past decade or two, something quite interesting has happened in the culture of America. (Clarifying statement: Now, I'm not here to force a belief on anyone, I would hope that would never happen to me or my family and love the freedom that this country has provided to choose.)
Back to the opening sentence. :-)
We still claim to be 75% Christian as a nation according to the latest polls of Americans. So if 75% of America claims to be Christians, why is it that the America we live in falls so short to live into the life of a Christian.
One thing is real easy to see: Ritual Christianity supersedes Relationship Christianity. We live in a self-seeking, self-preserving culture now that has existed before, been wiped out and creeps back into existence again. The problem? We're infected with a disease called sin.
It's not that we don't have information on how to do what is right, it is that we choose not to. We dictate our own truths. We label freedom as bondage and now bondage is the new freedom.
This is nothing new in the human race and nothing we haven't been warned of. What is important to consider in this short check up from the neck up is this: are you a RITUAL Christian or RELATIONSHIP Christian?
It's easy to go to church, there is one on just about every corner in America. It's easy to say you believe in God and Jesus. No problem, even the devil and demons themselves have been quoted as saying the same thing.
So, what is the difference? I submit the difference is gauging yourself against a proven standard and truth bigger than any of us. That in so submitting comes an obedience, not out of a forced and tortured life, but out of a passion and love in life.
I recently met with one of my long time war heroes. He’s an older man now. But a man of great stature and integrity. A man with a past and a passion. A man who witnessed senseless murders, much in his own family and friends. A man who traveled and hid under cover and fear of being found, fighting disease, hunger, pain and loneliness. When I look at the life he has lived and the battles he has faced, my life pales in comparison. I have struggles, but not the same. I have pain, but not the same. For him to forge through life and wake up everyday to live, that is impressive and that is an inspiration and that is NOT ritual.
Many reading this are of "the faith" and may feel this doesn't apply. I think it is highly possible that if you're reading this, it DOES apply.
How does one transition from a life of ritual to relationship? Imagine a boyfriend or girlfriend, a husband or wife. To have a relationship, to say you even have one, but only visit this person on a specific occasion to have a moment of contact and then leave is not a matter of love, but a matter of lust. Not a commitment but a convenience.
You get the idea, I can paint all kinds of pictures here. The reality is that relationship involves much more than what I just described.
I want to encourage you today to look deep and look hard 75 percenters. What are you doing and how are you shaping those after you? Your walk, your example and your life, if it were the only example of a Christian and upon leaving this world, what kind of Christian would be left here to continue following your lead?
If you don't like the thought or the answer, today is the only day to do something about it.
In my life, I don't claim perfection, I’m far from it. I do strive to be like Him and live the life he would have lived if he were me. I live passionately and passionately believe #GodsGotThis.
Ritual or relationship? Your choice.