Charlie Peacock - This Bright Life - Pt. II
- Tuesday, August 15, 2000
When it comes to criticism, it seems like we often play right into the hands of those that question the truth of our Story. If I am wise, I will take the posture of the teachable sinner and search the criticism for any good thinking, any clear insights, any evidence of truth. We have a tendency to mix the Christian message with our own set of political ideas and agendas or blur the line between faith and morality. We tend to be known more for what we hate and disagree with than what we love and affirm.
Our critics have a just basis for criticism if the fruit of our Christian discipleship looks a lot more like the lives of the Pharisees and Sadducees than those overtaken by the love of God, people such as the prostitute Mary, the taxman Matthew, and the murderer Paul. Or they can be justly skeptical when our version of the gospel life looks more like a life of materialism, greed, and self-absorption, seeking peace and safety at any cost, than a life of imitating and trusting Christ.
Which begs us to ask the question of whether we know what we believe? And what story our own life tells? Here's what I've figured out for myself. My life is going to tell a story whether I intend it to or not. It's going to tell a story that says: This is what a follower of Jesus is, this is what they are about, this is what they believe, this is what they think is important.
Because this is going to happen and can't be stopped, I better make sure I know my role and my job description: A Christian is a living explanation. As I go about living I will either make the teaching about God the Savior attractive or I won't. I make it attractive to others by living it out. Of course, it's attractive on its own, but my work should be to represent it accurately. That doesn't mean that my life is going to look just like His life looked. That's not even possible. No, I'll be doing well if I can become the kind of person He's teaching me to be. That's a big enough challenge right there.
I've decided my work is to tell the truth, to live a life framed and filled with God-thoughts about reality-what life really is. My goal is not to be a born-again Christian, a good Christian, a religious fanatic, a do-gooder, a spiritual person, a nice guy, or an American evangelical. No, I want to be an honest-to-God follower/student of Jesus, someone with a heart full of His brightness.
Those of us who have been Christians for a while can veer from the path via the sickness of amnesia. Forgetting what we know (good thinking), we lose our minds and lose our way in life. With little or no connection to reality, our version of the Christian life becomes something that looks deservedly suspect to the world around us. There's often little distinction between our lives and the lives of those who do not profess to know Jesus. There's no contrast. No art.
If those who would critique my life choices don't see in those choices the distinctive teachings of Jesus-what He is for and against-they will never name me as a follower of Jesus. They will not mark me as a loving student of Jesus. They'll call me something else, and I don't want to be called anything else. I want people to ask: "What's the deal with him?" And I want the answer to be: "Him? Oh, he's with Jesus."
Here's another of my prayer requests: I want my life to look like it belongs to Jesus without having to announce at every turn that it does. It seems to me that a follower of Jesus can and should live in society as an active participant, yet in the process come to exhibit some distinctives that are characteristic of Jesus. I'm betting on this. If I start asking, "What is life all about?" I'm certain to find the answers from Jesus' teaching. Dallas Willard says that students of Jesus must trust that their Teacher has the best information on the most important subjects. I believe He does. They are called the words of life. Where else can we go to find such words?
What else can I do but "come and see"-and follow the brightness.
Taken from: City On A Hill
Copyright 2000 by Steve Hindalong
Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402 and
CCM Books, a division of CCM Communications, Nashville, TN 37205
Used by Permission
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