Archive for the ‘living for God’ Tag

Guest ‘Week’ Part 2 – JUST DO SOMETHING

Part 2 now – I know I said I’d leave it longer, but there’s been a record number of hits since yesterday so I am confident Pete’s article has been well read.

And now… You know him as Phil, but he is known on this site under the inpenetrable monicker ‘Phil C’! Here he writes imploring us to, in the words of Nike, ‘Just Do It!’. As one who would far rather think/debate/write than actually act I have found it a welcome if uncomfortable challenge!

Phil C – JUST DO SOMETHING

I spent a long time writing one version of this article. I wrote over a thousand words, spent at least an hour crafting and editing them, and then deleted most of them. Instead, here is something that took much less time and crafting, and is hopefully a bit more provocative.

To explain – and at further risk of stopping you from reading this or any of the other pieces in this blog series – I worry about spending too much time talking about living for God than actually living for Him.

I love pontificating about things. It doesn’t help that I’m a journalist – I’m paid to tell people how other people are living, rather than to live myself.

Well, okay, I know that’s not quite true. The point is that I am better at talking about doing things rather than doing them. I don’t think I’m alone: there’s a Christian book just published in the US with the fantastic title Just Do Something, by a chap called Kevin DeYoung. I don’t really know what it’s about, but I wonder if that’s the answer for many of us: stop talking about living for God, and just do it.

A caveat: I’m not devaluing talking about God – whether that’s a sermon, a Bible study, or a chat among Christians in the pub. I’m talking about putting talk and discussion in the place of living out a sacrificial love that reflects God’s own love for us.

I’ve kind of given the game away there, but I’ll carry on. What’s the next step? We should do something, but what? How on earth am I to live in the world for God? Should I “just do something” like that book title says? Maybe I should go and study, or cycle across Mongolia with a bag full of tracts, presenting them to friend and Mongol alike.

That question usually leads me to lots of conversation, an essay like this, and not much action. The big questions about What To Do and How To Live distract me from the simple truth that living for God in the world is, for most of us middle-class Brits, in the little things more than the big.

What did Jesus mean when he said: “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”? He meant lots of things – go and read it, it’s in chapter nine of Luke. But notice that we are supposed to take up our cross daily.

I know it’s obvious, but living for Christ is not just about dramatic events and life-changing decisions, though it includes those things. I’ve never had to face a choice that would put me alongside the likes of Maximilian Kolbe, the priest who gave up his life to save that of a fellow inmate in a concentration camp. That doesn’t mean I’m not living for Christ; I am called to live now for Christ, whatever my situation.

Jesus says don’t just talk, but do it: take up your cross every day.

For me that means doing things that are small and varied and prickly, rather than big and momentous and obvious. They feel insignificant, hardly worth comparing to the once-for-all sacrifice that Jesus made. They are things like spending time with people who are dull, rather than interesting or attractive. Or giving up evenings to pray with someone who needs it. Or letting someone push ahead of me on the tube. Or telling someone about Jesus when we could just talk about something more neutral.

If I was lazy, I would just say it’s all about loving people in the small things we do, which unfortunately sounds like a cliche. Of course, I’m not lazy, but it’s past midnight and past Andy’s deadline, so I won’t spend much time trying to think of another way to say it. We are called to live for Christ by reflecting his love for us; and the people who can really see that in us are the people who have to clean up after us and work with us and live with us. That means that living for God in the world is about what you are doing right now, not just what you plan to do in the next five years.

So, in the spirit of action over talk, look in your diary. There will be some free evenings over the next few weeks. Give them up for people that need your friendship, whether it means food or conversation or a drink or bowling or something more interesting than I can think of right now. That is living for God in the world. And if you don’t have free time, make some. If time is the only thing you have to sacrifice, living for God in the world is a lot easier for you than it might be.

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Coming This Week…

Just to announce… Following a break for holidays (lovely time had in Padstow!), this week sees the start of a Summer Series of Guest Posts. |At least five or six friends and bloggers will be penning their own responses to the very vague title ‘Living in the World as a Man (or Woman, in one case) for God’. This will hopefully prove interesting and helpful in offering a voice other than my own and in stimulating thought and debate. Tomorrow (or perhaps Wednesday) should see the first offering so stay tuned!!