Life, Hope & Truth

From the January/February 2019 issue of Discern Magazine

Christianity in Progress: Why Everyday Moments Matter

We’re launching a new column to explore some common Christian struggles in greater depth. In this inaugural edition, we’ll take a closer look at why everyday moments matter.

Listen to this article
Download

The pages of the Bible paint a grand, sweeping narrative that stretches from before the first light of creation and continues on into the farthest reaches of eternity.

In those pages, you’ll find the most incredible stories—the rise and fall of empires, angelic battles in unseen realms, forbidden fruit and a cunning lie that set humanity on the path to self-destruction, a glimpse of a Kingdom that will put an end to evil forever, and the divine sacrifice that opened wide the doors to redemption and salvation.

In the face of all those grand stories, it can be easy to forget one fundamental truth of our religion:

Christianity is lived in moments.

We naturally gravitate toward the dramatic climaxes: Moses parting the Red Sea, David slaying Goliath, Peter walking on water, Lazarus returning to life. As important as those stories are, though, the real depth and breadth of Christianity is spread across the decisions we make in every single moment of our lives—the dull, average, ordinary ones matter every bit as much as the thrilling, exciting, red-letter ones.

That includes the stressful ones and the peaceful ones. The quiet ones and the loud ones. The easy ones and the hard ones. The ones where no one is watching and the ones where everyone is watching.

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). To be a follower of Jesus Christ, we must be striving to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ—not just when we’re battling giants and parting seas, but in every moment of every day.

There’s never a moment when following in those footsteps is somehow less important.

Belief versus reality

Of course, that forces us to come to terms with another fundamental truth of our religion:

There can be a large and uncomfortable world of difference between what a Christian believes and what a Christian is.

A Christian believes in a perfect, flawless God who provides His followers with the blueprints for living a perfect, flawless life. A Christian believes in a perfect, flawless system of objective morality that was codified by the same perfect, flawless God who designed the universe we live in.

But a Christian isn’t perfect.

A Christian isn’t flawless.

A Christian is a flesh-and-blood human being, and with that humanity comes a whole host of weaknesses and shortcomings—a truth that those of us who live this life know all too well.

We mess up, we fall down, we come up short—a lot. We spend our lives in pursuit of perfection only to come face-to-face with our own flaws every time we look in the mirror.

That can get discouraging, not to mention exhausting. The constant cycle of picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off after every failure, only to throw ourselves back into the fray once again—it doesn’t take long before that can start to wear us down, mentally and emotionally.

Focusing on solutions

But I’m not telling you anything new. You’re here; you’re in this; you’re living it day in and day out. So let’s not waste any more time rehashing what we all already know.

Let’s talk about solutions instead.

If our goal is to become better Christians—to get better at walking just as our older Brother walked—He will help us take a closer look at the places we keep stumbling and figure out what we can do about them.That’s what this new column is about. If Christianity is lived in moments, let’s talk about those moments—specifically the difficult ones, the ones we’re not so proud of, the ones we need help with. If our goal is to become better Christians—to get better at walking just as our older Brother walked—He will help us take a closer look at the places we keep stumbling and figure out what we can do about them.

In this column, we’re going to examine specific struggles Christians commonly face, and we’re going to lay out specific solutions for those problems. We’re going to go deeper than just recommending more prayer and more Bible study. Those things are absolutely important—extremely important—and fundamental, but just praying harder isn’t going to make a pornography addiction go away. All the Bible study in the world isn’t enough, by itself, to put an end to a character defect.

It takes more than that. It takes a plan. It takes action steps. It takes practical advice for what to do in the moments, whenever and wherever those moments come.

The moments that matter

No one who understands the Christian journey expects only fun and comfort. We’re doing this because we know the footsteps of our older Brother lead to somewhere worth going, no matter, as He said, how “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life” (Matthew 7:14).

So here’s today’s practical advice:

Christianity might be lived in moments, but the most important moments aren’t the ones behind you—they’re the ones ahead of you.

The book of Proverbs says that “a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16). Paul wrote, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

A road worth traveling

No, you’re not perfect. Yes, you’re going to make mistakes and bad decisions on your journey to the Kingdom of God. But Christianity isn’t about being perfect—it’s about the journey toward perfection.

The author of Hebrews urged God’s people to “go on to perfection” (Hebrews 6:1). Jesus described the result if His disciples lived more and more in line with the spiritual intent of God’s law: “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

It’s important to note that the Greek word for perfection isn’t about being flawless—it’s about being mature and complete, in the sense that an oak tree is the mature and complete form of an acorn.

Also important to note: these verses focus on the future, not the present. No one, especially not the God who created your human frame, expects you to be perfect right now, in this moment. But that same God, the God who called you to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, does expect you to pursue perfection.

Christianity isn’t about the falling down. It’s about the getting back up and trying again. It’s not about what’s behind you. It’s about what’s ahead.

Don’t let your past failures drag you down. We’re all human; we all have them. Our job is to keep getting up and keep moving forward—“for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11).

Suggestions welcome

If you’d like to suggest a topic for future editions of “Christianity in Progress,” you can do so anonymously at lifehopeandtruth.com/ideas. We look forward to your suggestions!

In the meantime, be sure to read our free booklet Change Your Life. It’s a great start to building the foundational principles for progress—understanding sin, repentance and conversion.

Continue Reading

×

Discern is published every two months and is available in digital and print versions. Choose your preferred format to start your subscription.

Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe

×

Please choose your region:

×

Suscríbase a Discernir

×
Fill out the form below to start your subscription.
×