The Christian faith is more than a set of beliefs – it is a way of life. It was originally called “The Way” simply because meeting and knowing the resurrected Jesus totally changed the way you lived. It should do the same today – however, often it does not. Today, we seem to think that being a Christian is simply believing a number of key truths that the Christian faith preaches. It is that – but really so much more.
When all we have is a set of beliefs and not an alternative life-style then we tend to be critical of our culture but fail to offer an alternative – and so we don’t change culture – we either spend our time critiquing it, condemning it, or consuming it. But, as disciples our task from the Lord is the change culture by offering people an alternative way to live. I have found that one real hurdle to reaching others with the Gospel is our critical spirit and that we are perceived as “anti” something – anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-war… and the list goes on. People see the Church as condemning what they happen to like and believe is okay. Or, worse still, they don’t see any difference between the way they live and the way born again disciples live as both are consumers of the culture.
I believe, as a disciples of the Lord, that we need to find creative alternatives to the current culture in which we live and in which we are to be witnesses. We need to discover new ways to live out our faith in the culture we find ourselves – living in such a way that we are truly salt and light and thus more than a viable alternative – but actually the better choice when it comes to living life, celebrating life and having life to the fullest.
This will mean putting into practice on a daily basis the truths that we believe. This means not buying into the consumer culture in which we find ourselves. This means questioning everything we simply take for granted here in the west. This means seeing everything we are blessed with as a blessing from God and thus using it to bless others who have so little – both around the world and right here at home.
This will certainly mean a radical shift in the way we “do life” but I believe it will release us to actually “live life” to the fullest. I believe that we have yet to discover the life that the Lord came to give us – The Way – because we have encased ourselves in the culture of the day and thus can’t see or experience what Jesus would have His disciples walking in. We have yet to experience the liberty that comes from abandoning ourselves to Him and living life His way. We have yet to walk in the freedom that is ours because the truth sets us free – or at least should have.
It is time for disciples of Jesus to live a Christian lifestyle which is markedly, even radically, different than the way the culture in which we find ourselves lives. Then we will be able to offer those who don’t know Jesus an alternative way to live – The Way disciples should be living so as to impact their world with the life-changing Gospel. Then we can change culture instead of simply being critical, condemning or a consumer of it.