One of the greatest misconceptions about Christianity, as a whole, is that we live in a world of regime and discipline, not allowed to make and create our own decisions. And for a large part, I can see why- conversations with God at the center of them in the public eye routinely make it seem like we are under a dictatorship, rather than active in a relationship.
While I understand where that implication comes from, I’d like to counter with this: “..just because a conversation (or a sermon or lecture) has the word “God” in it, does not qualify it has true” (Eat this Book, Peterson). I choose to root my relationship with God in Scripture, in the true telling of who He is, and His character as a whole. And, in that definition, I live in a dynamic and expansive world, propelled by God, not held back.
God promises a fresh restart, and a new heart in the process. This “new heart” doesn’t mean you lose who you are, but rather you live into who you were meant to be. In the book of Ezekiel, God promises a restart and restoration to Israel:
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” [Ezekiel 36:26, NLT]
This, at it’s core, is where I see real freedom given by the Father. He doesn’t just say that He will give us an obedient heart. He says He will give us a responsive heart, and this makes all the difference.
We are, as followers of Jesus, called to respond, and the difference in living a compassionate life vs. a hateful life is determining where your response is rooted in.
Is it rooted in society? A society where your worth is determined by how much you do, acquire, make? A society where once your perceived performance is exhausted, you are sent on your way, losing all relevancy and adoration?
Is it rooted in scripture? Scripture that determines you as “fearfully and wonderfully made,” (Psalm 139:14), that calls you beloved, that will right all wrongs, and work solely for your good? Where you are rejoiced over (Zephaniah 3:17) and consistently adored, not reliant on performance?
In order to be human, we have to respond, and I’d much rather respond out of Scripture truth then Societal ebbs-and-flows.
This factor, to me, shows how imperative Christ-centered decision-making is in our day-to-day lives. He’s not passive, but responsive, so in all responses, we’ve got to take inventory in His truth before acting.
One last thing: Our responses are our own, but they can (and should be) rooted in love. Love that is inspired by Scripture rather than entrusted to society. Because society is a constant changing beast, but Scriptures say that, “but the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:17).
Our lives should make a positive impact on all, because if Jesus was walking on this earth, I think that would be his impact. A response rooted in love is a response that is beneficial to all, not just the responder.
partner with Jesus >> be the vessel