Faith: More than an Act
- Monday, July 09, 2007
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Christine Caine's new book, Stop Acting Like a Christian, Just Be One, (Regal Books, 2007).
Do you enjoy a time of worship at church on Sunday, yet argue with your spouse on the way home while reacting rudely to other drivers in traffic? Do the people with whom you interact during the week see the same you that others in your congregation see, or do they see someone who struggles with gossiping, lying, envying, or a host of other behaviors you just can’t seem to overcome?
It’s not enough just to try your best to act like a Christian, modifying your behavior from the outside in. You need to invite Jesus to change you from the inside out, transforming you into an authentic Christian.
Here’s how you can stop acting like a Christian and just be one:
Let love – not a sense of obligation – motivate you. Don’t waste time and energy trying to impress God with religious words or rituals if your heart isn’t truly in them. Understand that God doesn’t want you to come to Him out of a sense of duty, but out of a genuine passion for Him. Strengthen your heart – your core spiritual muscle – by staying in close communication with God through prayer and remaining obedient to His Word, the Bible. Expect that as you seek God, you will discover more and more about Him that will cause you to genuinely fall in love with Him and naturally motivate you to live in a way that pleases Him.
Guard against potential heart blockages. Combat attitudes that can block your intimacy with God. Instead of becoming bored with your faith journey, remain bold and adventurous to keep your relationship with God fresh and dynamic. Remember that there is always more for you to learn about God, and there are always more ways for you to grow into the person He wants you to become. Keep seeking God, and taking risks that He leads you to take. Don’t let your familiarity with God lead you to take Him for granted. Remember that everything you have – even you next breath – is a gift from God. Express your gratitude to Him on a regular basis, and live in awe of His power. Prevent lust from blocking a close relationship with God by staying focused on God as your top priority in life. Know that this will keep everything and everything else in proper perspective so you don’t become controlled by your desires. Overcome laziness that can block your relationship with God by recognizing that the good works He created you to do are not empty and dead tasks, but life-giving works that are full of purpose. Ask God to help you notice how He uses even the most mundane activities in your life to fulfill exciting purposes. Embrace His plan for your life, and decide to do your part to see that plan realized. Don’t let disobedience block your intimacy with God. Remember that every small step of obedience has eternal ramifications. Whenever you sense God leading you to do something, do it. Keep in mind that if God sees that He can trust you to obey Him in small ways, He will trust you with larger assignments.
Pursue the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Realize that all true Christians should produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Don’t withhold any part of your life from God; invite His Spirit to take control of every aspect of it. Seek healing for any damage in your soul that is causing you to produce bad fruit (such as anger, fear, jealousy, depression, or low self-esteem) in your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your soul and empower you to live faithfully.
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