Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Responsible for our walk

In church life I have heard people ask to be told what to do, as if its good that the church leaders take responsibility for them, their decisions and the results of those decisions. Its also fair to say that in some churches the leaders prefer to tell the church what to do and in others it is what is expected.

I am reading a book at present by Graham Cooke and Gary Goodell, Permission Granted (to do the church differently in the 21st Century), based on the work of the Third Day church movement. They say ...

"People must learn how to police their own lives well. A lot of leadership time can be wasted on policing things for others that they are not doing for themselves."


"The only acceptable control in church life is the fruit of self control that comes out of our ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit".

As disciples of Christ we are going nowhere fast if we expect our church leaders to police our lives and give a step by step guide to what to do and what not to do. Our church leaders are not infallible.

What do you do when it seems your spiritual life is in a rut and going nowhere or worse still is heading off the cliff and looks like its about to be wrecked? Look for a new church, a new experience, that's a common one in my experience. But I wonder if you ask yourself - am I responsible for this? Were the choices I made or am making the cause? If we don't take personal responsibility for our lives and especially for our faith lives, we cannot expect to grow.

Yes, I know there are always good reasons not to find time to pray, wait on God, read the bible, go to church, attend a home group, cell group or bible study group - but then ask what things do I do regularly that I would not miss? Watching sport, going to the pub (bar), playing sport, playing computer games, meeting folks at the coffee shop ... I am sure that the list is big.

If being a disciple of Christ is important and we want to make godly choices in our lives - we need to invest in our future at least as much as drinking coffee, watching sport ... etc.

If you love me you do as I have told you ... Jesus told us and how do we know that a person is obeying Christ? Their life speaks it out in the things they do - which is why James tells his readers than the truth of someones faith is born out in the way they live.

I am a hill walker and I know that preparation is the key to enjoying this and being safe. In effect the key to making the right choices as situations present themselves. Learning to use maps and compasses, learning what to take as back up, learning to read the weather signs.

As Christians the same is required - preparing ourselves to make choices by filling our hearts and minds with the things of God, the bible, fellowship with other Christians, godly council from others - but ultimately making our own decisions based on good preparation and taking responsibility for them.