Contemplations

What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Four Decades Following Christ

40 years ago this month I began following Christ as a 12-year-old.

Here are some miscellaneous thoughts about the trip so far...
  • Jesus is a much better leader than I am a follower. Overall I've trusted Christ without dissent these past 40 years, but at times my impatience and insubordination have gotten the best of me. He's totally trustworthy, I can testify to that. I've been consistent but far from perfect.
  • Unfortunately, at times I've tried to make following Him more complicated that it actually is. Most of the stuff Jesus taught and how He lived while on earth is really pretty easy to emulate. I blame some of my misunderstandings of the Christian life on the organized church and part of it on me. I'm all for the organized church - I've just learned to be careful about equating man's methods and ideas with those of God. Sometimes I'll be reading a Christian book and have to say to myself, "That author has his religious underwear on too tight!" The longer I follow Christ the more I just want it to be out of simple love and obedience to His teachings.
  • It's getting easier...and harder. There are a lot of things I don't wrestle with any more. I don't mean I'm not tempted any more. Stuff like the temptation to envy, or be intemperate, or fear, etc. will always be there. But one of the good things about being a mid-life believer is that you know how to lick these things without a big struggle; most of the time anyway. But some things have gotten harder. Putting up with people who should be further along in their spiritual progress than they are, for instance. I have become less and less tolerant with high maintenance/low impact Christ followers. People like me, who have been following Christ for decades, yet still behave like spiritual infants, turn me off big time. I don't devote as much effort on them as I once did. I want to invest what God has taught me into the lives of believers who want to grow and learn to do God's will!
  • God wants me to follow Him because He loves me and wants the friendship, not because of what I can "do" for Him. Results-oriented people must be closely guarded. We tend to get so caught up in the outcome of what we're working on that we can be easily distracted from the relationships. The longer I follow Christ the more emphasis I place on relationships and the less I worry about results. I will always struggle with it but I've grown a lot. I love God, my family, my church family, my friends, but I have to make an effort sometimes to not put the cart before the horse.
  • The Scriptures are a gold mine! Almost every day for the last 40 years I've read the Bible. I am more amazed now at the wisdom of the Word of God than I was at age 12, and I was mesmerized then! I own a couple of dozen different translations and paraphrases of the Bible, from a facimilie of the 1611 King James Version to The Message. I love books but I love THE BOOK most of all! When I read and study the Bible I sometimes laugh, sometimes I cry, and sometimes I even stand up and shout in my study over the amazing insights in God's Word!

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