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I am Eric’s Wife. I am also mother to two teenagers on the very cusp of adulthood, the founding director of Scripture from the Heart, an avid world watcher, bold and insecure at once. I serve a merciful God and I love a guy who makes my knees weak. This is where I write about it all.  Thank you for reading!

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You Have One Job

June 4, 2020

“Christianity is not about behavior modification.”

Someone told me that years ago and I filed it away. It spoke to me in my early 20s because I was trying to come to terms with a childhood church experience that had, in a lot of ways, stressed the importance of good and appropriate behavior. At that time “good behavior” meant not drinking, not having premarital sex, and not wearing bikinis. Nobody said it, but it felt like there was a clear checklist that could be the litmus test of a “real Christian.”

In my 30s, the church as I knew it was desperately sorry for any hints at legalism and spoke only of heart. How’s your heart? Where’s your heart? Drink alcohol, as long as your heart is in a good place. Wear a bikini, as long your heart is in a good place. Sex before marriage had taken a back seat (pun not intended, but, there it is) to our new and tender approach to divorced people. We modified our behavior because we believed that “real Christians” don’t judge.

And now, here we are. It is 2020 and we have a whole new checklist of appropriate behavior for a real Christian. “Real Christians” wear masks, speak up about racism, apologize on behalf of gender/race/creed, use their platforms for social justice and change. Failing any point on that checklist calls into question the truth of a person’s Christian virtue.

What if the litmus test of modified behavior is wrong? What if we have Americanized the responsibilities and obligations of Christianity and missed the point altogether?

Like some people, I found myself frustrated with the hypocrisy of some celebrities who publicly decried climate change, but flew in private jets to pick up cheese in France. If you believe climate change is real, shouldn’t your behavior look like you believe it?

And, like most people, I tend to have an eagle eye for flaws in others that resemble my own flaws.

If I really am a Christian, if I really believe the truth of Christ revealed in God’s Word, through the active and sustaining work of the Holy Spirit, why do I preach or attempt behavior modification? Shouldn’t I see all societal problems as a place that needs Gospel and that Gospel alone would suffice?

Christians have only ever had one job: make disciples. A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ and Jesus said people would know we follow him because of our love. It should be our goal to become a mature disciple and to make mature disciples. If we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to mold a heart and modify behavior, than we believe that this work is the only real effective answer to social justice.

I think it is more important now than ever for Christians to step aside from the problem that is America. It is not our problem to solve.

The American economy has collapsed. There will be no financial recovery from this collapse. While we riot in the streets, stare suspiciously at each other over our masked mouths, Rome is burning. I am willing to be wrong in my predictions, I hope I am, but all signs seem to point to the end of the road. It is the end of America as we know it, or possibly, the end of the world. Either way, every little thing that we place as a marker of what a “good Christian” is by American standards will be turned upside down.

I don’t want to paint myself as the prophet in rags, yelling in the streets that it is the end of the world. As I said, I could totally be wrong. But, if I am right, then I would be an absolute hypocrite to not mention it that I think I see the problem coming and I know I know the solution.

It may not be the end of the world, but I have to tell you that I think that there is a very big end of some kind coming. Get right with God.

One response to “You Have One Job”

  1. Janelle Vermilion says:

    Our mission (or whatever you want to call it, goal, directive) statement at church. Love God, Love Others, Make Deciples!

    That’s it, who would of thought that statement would affect me so deeply. I love the denomination we grew up in, but I did feel like the list was overwhelming.

    Loved this, thank you!

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