Done with living like a Christian

I’m Done With Living Like a Christian Kurt Willems writes at Red Letter Christians I’m Done With Living Like A Christian (originally at his own Pangea Blog). Concerning all the things he used to do as a Christian, he says:

This past week made me realize that doing all these things won’t change the world.  That’s because the world can’t be changed unless God changes me. …

For me, it’s time to stop doing.  It’s time to simply be done.  Done “doing” because the Holy Spirit invites us to stop and to “be.”

I want to know Jesus.  I want to hear Jesus.  I want to be empowered by Jesus.  Not simply in theory as I do the good things that he calls us to do, but as the natural outflow of intimacy with God.  The former way “gets the job done.”  The latter way changes the world.

For me, this means a new-found intentionality of placing myself in a position to hear from the Spirit. …

In principle this is something I have been learning over the last few years. What we do by human effort, even with the intention of serving God, is often frustratingly hard work with little fruit. When we do things “as the natural outflow of intimacy with God”, they receive his blessing and naturally produce an abundant harvest.

But I need to work more on “placing myself in a position to hear from the Spirit” …

Do read the whole post.

0 thoughts on “Done with living like a Christian

  1. I love this. Yes. Quit acting “like!”

    This is a problem for me – only about a thousand times a day.

    A must-read on this problem. Watchman Nee, “Two Spiritual Principles.”

    I give this article for free to some of my low-income clients who are literate. Short essay. Easy to read. Accessible. Excellent case examples. I have a few quibbles with Nee. For example, it’s not really about “two .. principles.” It’s about “two .. principals.” Two different agents. Our spirits versus Spirit. It’s not about rules (principles). That’s just my bias. My quibble with Nee. Otherwise a perfect essay on this point.

    Peter, a little fun with physics. Physics and the Spirit. Just for you. To bless you back.

    I love Freeman Dyson. I’m sure you know Dyson as the sometimes-irascible-maverick-of-playfulness. Here’s a little Freeman (the “freeman” – for the Spirit of Christ has set us free in the law of liberty) for you – just for you —

    The Spirit is infinite in all directions. Charismatically urging us infinitely in all directions – to quit – acting “like!”

    A little play, for today …

    Hey, I’m going to ramp a new post on Nee!

    Jim

  2. I didn’t know what to make of this but I read the whole post through a couple of times and I’ve got a couple of issues. Firstly, we’re called to ‘do’ good works by the Bible. This makes evangelicals uncomfortable, we know we’re saved by faith, and we scared that the stuff we ‘do’ will be what where we place our confidence, rather than Jesus’s life death and resurrection. Ephesians 2:8-10 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ” So we’re not saved by doing good works but we’re saved to do good works. I get what the guy is saying but I don’t think it’s helpful to communicate it in a way that contradicts how the Bible speaks about good works.

    Secondly, it’s so individualistic, how’s he going to become more like Jesus? Apparently through “Spiritual practices like – solitude, Sabbath, lectio divina, silence, confession, prayer, and practicing the presence of God” I don’t know what practising the presence of God means, I assume it’s Christian jargon that isn’t used in my circles and I don’t know what lectio divina is but I do know that there’s a lack of corporate stuff there and a lack of anything to do with the Bible.

    I also get concerned with stuff like this because it sounds a little like ‘start with the Gospel, start with being saved by grace through faith and then continue in your Christian walk by doing other stuff’. In this case, ‘spiritual practices’. Paul says in Galatians 3:2 “1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? ” The church in Galatia started with the Gospel (being saved by faith) but now false teachers want them to follow works of the law to continue in their christian faith. So Paul tells them that to attain their goal they need to stay with Jesus and him crucified, stay with what they believed in the first place. It’s sooo easy to seek some sort of ‘better’ Christian life through doing certain spiritual practices, when Paul says we need to be constantly going back to what saves us, believing on Jesus.

    Ironically what this blogger seems to me to be have done is stopped ‘doing’ ‘Christian’ stuff in order to ‘do’ ‘spiritual stuff’ in order to BE who he should be. But we don’t primarily DO anything to BEcome like Jesus, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinth 3:18). That is, we become like him as we think on Christ, who he is, what he’s done for us and who we are in him. We become like him as we continually go back to the Gospel.

    Anyway, I may be reading too much into what this guy is saying but I felt obliged to share some concerns.

  3. Thank you, Joel, for sharing your concerns. Indeed we are “created … to do good works”, but specifically those “which God prepared in advance for us to do”. We get into trouble when we decide for ourselves which good works to do.

    What Kurt is saying here is by no means “trying to attain your goal by human effort”. Spiritual practices are in the same position as good works here: some may ignorantly think these will promote their salvation, but good Christians saved by grace know that neither of these things helps to attain any goal, but they flow out of one’s secure position in Christ.

    Also Kurt is not ignoring the Bible. One of the practices he recommends is “lectio divina” which is a way of reading the Bible. (It does sound very arrogant for you to claim “I do know that there’s … a lack of anything to do with the Bible” when you admit you don’t know what “lectio divina” is.) As for “practising the presence of God”, I assume this is a reference to the practices in Brother Lawrence’s famous book The Practice of the Presence of God.

    I accept that you have a point that “it’s so individualistic”. I could answer that by saying that many of the practices listed can be corporate and perhaps ideally should be. Solitude is an obvious exception, but this was a practice of Jesus. And the results he expects to see are not all individualistic, as they include:

    Be the kind of person who opens my life up to Christian community.
    Be the kind of person who loves my neighbor.

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