Would Anything Be Different?

I believe that much of the American churchgoing population, while not specifically swimming downstream, is slowly floating away from Christ. It isn’t a conscious choice, but it is nonetheless happening because little in their lives propels them toward Christ.[1]

A friend asked me what is hopefully a soul-shaking question: “If Christ wasn’t in your life, what would be different?” Before you answer too quickly, consider this:

A Christianity reducible to therapy or activism is, in the end, sentimentality. It is therapy and activism performed by people who could as easily do what they do without talk of Jesus and Israel and the kingdom of God, but who have mouthed these platitudes so long they can’t quite let them go.”[2]

Dallas Willard wrote:

I have to try to do real good work; and that’s my business – to do real good work. I wouldn’t say it’s the best in the world or anything like that, others can make judgments, but my intention is to do the best work possible. And by that I don’t mean within my human limitations; I also mean God helping me. I’m going to put my human limitations on the line, but my expectation is not from them. I expect to see something happen that I could not possibly do. And I would do that if I were preaching or witnessing on the streets, or doing whatever wherever. I want to see something happen that I couldn’t possibly do. [3]

Is your life committed to something that on your own, without Christ, you could not accomplish?

For myself, it is clear that without Christ my life would be radically different. However, I too often find that I’m laboring for Him according to the powers He created in me, rather than in dependence upon the power of His Holy Spirit.


[1] Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By A Relentless God (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2008), 93.

[2] Rodney Clapp, A Peculiar People: The Church As Culture in a Post-Christian Society (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1996), 18.

[3] Dallas Willard, “My Journey To and Beyond Tenure in a Secular University”, http://www.dwillard.org/biography/tenure.asp, accessed 10/20/2009.

5 thoughts on “Would Anything Be Different?

  1. Greetings Nate,
    In my understanding it depends on love… if you are serving out of fear, or some other motivation, then it could be “old hat”. If it’s newness, day by day, continual revelation of “yourself to you” and of the Holy one to you, then there should be transformation happening… daily. B-H

    For some reason, I think of Finney, “break up that fallow ground…”

    Shalom to you and your house,
    Ed

  2. Not sure I’m following you here, Ed. Although I agree that all we do should be motivated out of love, and that transformation does happen regularly…not sure that I would want to commit to daily…

    Tell me more about what you’re thinking.

    Shalom to you and yours as well!

  3. Hi Nate,
    Sorry I wasn’t clear, I’m a scaterbrain!

    As far as “nothing to propel them…” Seems the majority aren’t in Love with the Master/King… have they forgotten so soon? …or never had?

    Concerning, “…if Christ wasn’t in your life…” Then, what’s the point? I had burned through to the futility of life by 15 and searched until 20 to be confronted by Yeshua. Activism, etc., didn’t hold my attention or passion. It’s the changes that relationship brings that makes life worth living. I need the daily changes/challenges.

    Regarding Willards quote, I do fully expect HaShem to use the frail, flawed soul to do His will, more often than not, without the miraculous (or even perceivable!). Nothing is “wasted”, I’m not shaken by lack of “progress”.

    Using the abilities is the point, isn’t it? It is submission of our will. In my thinking it would be unreasonable for HaShem to expect stuff of us we could never do? (I’m not saying don’t press for the best, but you wouldn’t expect your dear children do have abilities that were not yet “built” in them yet or down right impossible for anyone, would you?) If He would use us to do something beyond us, resurrection of another perhaps, Then it’s clear where “That” comes from, not from us.

    …besides being scaterbrained, I ramble too… d’oh! 🙂

    Shalom,
    ed

  4. Ahh, now I’m following better! You make some good points. As it relates to Willard’s quote and your remarks, I’d like to chew on that a bit more.

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