I face most things in life as a project. That’s okay because we live in a project-oriented culture. We love goals, we make resolutions, and we love to measure results. There is really nothing wrong with this approach. Often it is necessary. However, we tend, as a result, to take that approach with the Christian faith.
We have a set list if “to do” daily events that indicate whether we are doing it right. We have this Christian “to do” list that includes, reading the Bible, praying, praying in tongues, maybe meditating, and on the list could and does go. And, if we accomplish the list then it is a good day and we are good with God. But, if we fail to complete the “to do” list then we feel guilty and begin to condemn ourselves wondering when we will ever master this thing we can the Christian faith. When will we ever be mature and spiritual like we are suppose to be? Like others are?
This is entirely the wrong approach. This approach says we can “arrive” and that there is a “destination” to be reached so we can say we are good with God, that we have arrived, and that we are mature as believers. But, the Christian life is not a destination – it is a journey. So, when we have ‘destination disease’ we miss the whole point of the faith that we have in Jesus and who He is.
The Christian walk is a process and not a destination. The Christian walk is not a finish line. It is not a goal or an achievement. It is an ongoing relationship with Jesus. So, all these activities that we have on our “to do” list are simply tools to help us develop and build this relationship we have with Jesus. But, we have turned the ‘tools’ into ‘rules’ and thus lose the benefit of reading, praying, fasting, and meditating. And so, we leave the faith and enter into realm of religion once again. We have put Jesus into a box and have these things we do so as to please Him. However, the Bible clearly states that if we want to please Him we simply need to have faith in Him (Hebrews 11:6). Faith that allows us to follow Him and obey Him because of who He is – God incarnate (born in the flesh).
So, we are on a journey with Jesus. The Christian life is a process and not a destination. It’s not a goal or something that we achieve. It is simply an ongoing and ever changing personal love relationship with Jesus. So, it means growing and changing, embracing and replacing, listening and living out what He speaks to us. It is a journey that will last the rest of our lives. Following Jesus is an on-going, ever-evolving experience. An adventure to be embraced and enjoyed.
A number of years ago I was beginning my summer schedule of ministry that allows for more time at home and thus more time to read and study my Bible. However, day after day as I sat and read God’s Word it was lifeless. Now, I understood that the problem was in me and not in the Word. Jesus said that His Word was spirit and life (John 6:63). But, at that time in my journey, there was simply no life. So, I asked God what I should do. And He instructed me to put the Bible aside and go for a long walk in the park that is near my home.
So, every day, twice a day, I would take my dog and we would go for a long walk. Often we would sit under a specific tree and watch the beaver at work building his house. Other times we would watch the ducks taking care of their young as they learned to swim, eat, and follow their parent. It was an amazing time each day as my soul relaxed, stepped off the performance treadmill, put away the “to do” list, and got in touch with itself and with God. Three months later summer ended and I picked my Bible once again and the words were once again filled with life. It was the best three months of my life … and God showed me and taught me so, so much.
Be careful that you have not settled for a destination instead of a journey. Be careful that you are not simply holding to a born again religion with all the “to do” lists to please God – the key element of all religions. We are followers of the Christian faith, not a religion, and it is a journey with many turns and changes as we follow Jesus. And, it is never boring or dead … it is a process taking us from life to more life to abundant life.
Settle for nothing less!