Thursday, June 2, 2011

Duty and Delight

"When I surrender everything to Him and focus on just loving Jesus, my checklist isn't so important, and sanctification takes care of itself."

This is a concept I've wrestled with a lot the past three years, as I've sat under Jeff, the current youth pastor at church. His life verse is Philippians 2 - "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." His emphasis is that our work is to surrender and do nothing - not try to fix our selves or become better Christians - and let God do what He will in us. He says that as American Christians, we really struggle with works based salvation, regardless of what we profess to believe. And I can't deny that American culture certainly elevates independence and Lone Rangers and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps.

I disagree mildly about how Jeff applies this though. He once told the youth group not to read their Bibles until they wanted to. His point is extremely valid, especially for kids who have grown up in the church with a checklist of dos and don'ts. And I think it's a great exercise, for a set period of time. Because when it comes down to it, human hearts are prone to wander and to desire things that shouldn't be desired. Far too often, as Lewis explains, our experiences with joy leaves us chasing more stuff instead of pointing us to the only source of Joy.

I want to delight in God and in communion with Him through serious study of His Word. But sometimes, the delight just isn't there. And while I agree that resorting to duty isn't the point of Christianity, there has to be a balance. I'm coming to discover that often, discipline has to jump start desire.

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