Christianity: Relationship or Routine?

“Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:6
 
 

If you know me, or simply just follow my blog, you’re probably aware of the fact I attended a Christian elementary, middle and high school. My whole life, I have known who Jesus is. In fact, one of the very first memories I have as a child is asking Christ to come into my heart at the ripe age of seven years old. I was blessed tremendously by having God-fearing parents, and growing up in a Christ-centered home. Attending church each week was a given, and living/behaving in a godly way was always enforced in our family. I never had some crazy story where I flew off the deep end and the love of Christ rescued me and pulled me out of a deep addiction. In fact, I don’t think I’ve personally experienced a trial that has even caused me to doubt whether or not God was real. I’ve never had anyone extremely close to me pass away, I’ve never had a crazy disease or a disastrous turn of events take place in my life that causes me to doubt that there could ever be a God in Heaven that loves me. Growing up in this Christian bubble was such a beautiful blessing, and in many ways, it prepared me for the secular world waiting outside of it.

With all of these things being said, its a fair assumption to say I’ve had it pretty easy thus far. However, I have discovered this “easiness” is exactly what Satan uses against me. I’ve always known who God is; I’ve known lots about the Bible, I could probably murder someone in a round of Bible jeopardy. But, my experiences in which I have FELT God have been few and far between. In fact, I can’t honestly say that I grew up serving in ministry and reading my Bible because I had personally experienced, TASTED and SEEN that the Lord was good, and earnestly wanted to seek more of Him in my life. In fact, it was just the opposite. My relationship with God, my involvement in church, my readings… it was all a big routine – something I grew up doing, and continued to do because it was what came naturally.
Now, don’t dismiss me as some life-long Christian trying to build up a dramatic testimony for herself. I’m not saying that I was a two-faced kid growing up in a Christian home, and I’m not saying that everything I did growing up at church was out of selfishness. But, as I’ve grown into a young adult over these past two years, I’ve discovered that I’ve always been lacking a all-around devotion to living for Christ. I’ve lacked a knowledge as to what it feels like to have God moving and working in my heart. I’ve especially been lacking in living a life that shows an understanding of who Christ is and WHAT He did for me. Maybe some of you can identify with this. This year, I’ve written about experiences that were forcing me to depend and trust in God. I no longer could lean on what I had known; but instead, I had to step out and seek Christ myself. I found myself asking questions…
Do you go to church because your parents go? Do you go because its a routine and you have an image to keep up at church? Do you read your bible often? Do you do it at all? If you do, do you do it to cross it off the laundry list of things to do that day?
What kind of music do you listen to? Does it influence you? How do you speak? Do the things that come out of your mouth reflect a pure heart? In other words, are you gossiping, cussing, tearing others down with your words?
What do weekends look like? Are you freely able to talk about what you did Friday night with a church friend on Sunday morning? Do you catch yourself holding your tongue, trying not to gossip or curse when you’re around fellow Christians?
What does your life look like? Do you seek a future that you have consulted with Christ about? Do you seek financial security more than the will of God? Do you make your own plans or do you ask Christ to help you walk in faith?
These are probably just a tenth of the questions that have ran around in my own mind and convicted me. Can you imagine what a life, a relationship with Christ, would look like if the music we listened too was encouraging, built us up, and influenced the way we spoke in a positive way? GIRLS, can you imagine what our friendships would look like if we quit the gossiping and started asking each other how we’re doing, what we’re struggling with, how we could pray for each other? Can you say that what you say/do during the week & weekend accurately reflects the lyrics we raise our hands to on Sunday morning? Can you imagine having your (spiritual) cup so full, that you can’t help but be involved in ministry at church because you just want to use your talents to  pour out the love and joy of the Lord that’s in your heart? Or reading your Bible daily not because you feel like you have too, but because you’re hungry for His word and WANT to read? Can you think about a life that looks like that of a man/woman who is completely surrendered to Christ. One who asks God to not make their own dreams come true, but rather to lay HIS will on THEIR own hearts so that they know what direction to take in life? A life that is wholeheartedly DEDICATED to serving the God they believe in?

This is the current word God has placed upon my heart. A word that I have become so passionate about sharing because I believe its something that some long-time Christians could identify with. It can be easy to slip into a religious routine and lose the passion in our hearts.  In all honesty, I can’t answer “yes” to half of those questions that were running around in my mind. But, I know if I abide in Christ daily, and humbly ask that His spirit will invade my thoughts and my heart, He will come flooding in. It will change my desires and make them those of Christ.

Over the past year or so, I have had a revival in my heart. Christ has set my heart on fire and shown me Himself in more ways than one. More than ever I feel passionate about living a life of service and thankfulness! A life that reflects the God I believe in and His sacrifice for me. I still fall short in every area, but I’ve realized I’m done being lazy. It’s time to stand up and earnestly live a live for Christ, not just going through the motions. If we want to be radically changed for Christ we must turn off the spiritual cruise control and be revived. Know this: He is worth following every second of every day of the year. In the good times when we feel like we can get by without Him; in the tough times that bring us to our knees, begging for Him to guide us. He is worth following, worth surrendering for. We must know and believe He is WORTHY of our entire lives. He is DESERVING of our everything; our heart & it’s desires, our mouth & the words that come out of it, & our lives as a whole. He is worth all!

Do you believe that?
Does your life show it?
 
 
 
If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!“- 2 Corinthians 5:13-17
Xo
Toni

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