>Categorical Christianity

>“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand it, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?

Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

–Soren Kierkegaard

More than I would like to lately, I have been thinking about the type of Christian I am. Am I the lax one? The comfortable one? The “don’t pull me out of my bubble” one? The “I’ll do anything for you, God” one? I feel that there may be even more categories to fall into – and that alone is scary enough to think about. It also makes me wonder how God looks down and sees those who have actually come back to Him and found the redemption and freedom He so lovingly offers, to be doing nothing with their faith. I would imagine it being like someone making a huge investment in some kind of company, with hopes of making some kind of profit or seeing the growth of the company happen, but then nothing happens. The investment that that person made turned around, not be a failure, but abandonment.

That is because it takes two sides in order to see something like that flourish. What does it look like when God hands you everything (Romans 8:11),  and we set it aside like we still have our plans to do and we will get to that stuff later? I even find it incredibly contradictive of myself to act as if I have any say into my life, especially if I have just screamed out in worship, “Where You go, I go. What You say, I say, God. What You pray, I pray.” and then turned around and so flippantly continue down the same exact road. Who do I think I am?

If we are saying we want God to take it all, what exactly is our “all?” Is it a few things here and there? Because sometimes I find myself struggling with this, and what it boils down to is that it is a huge pride issue. I cannot let some things go in my life because I think I can do it better. Meanwhile, God begins to build his garden of thornbushes to wall me in (Hosea 2:6) because He knows, oh, He knows, my path is only destructive to myself, and that His plans are beyond my imagination.

I cannot and will not allow myself to become some categorical Christian. I need to challenge myself more in my Christianity. I need to challenge myself in my relationship with God, to break from the mediocrity that the world hands out like flyers. I need to challenge myself in my relationships with my friends. I should make sure that I am a great friend in the sense that I am encouraging and rooting my friends on in their relationship with God. I should even be a great friend to those who don’t know Jesus – but not fall into old habits.

It is such a process, but it is so worth it. When Jesus was telling his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” It is a process that is to be done daily, not weekly, not monthly or yearly. God wants every single bit of us, every single day. That is your investment back to God. That is where the flourishing happens. It just takes us to cut off the head of pride – because it is eating us all alive.

C.S. Lewis put pride this way: “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.”

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