Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cliché Christianity

This is something I wrote for the OSL blog this week. Thought I would share it here!

Me: Standing up on my soapbox

One of the most challenging verse in the Bible is in Daniel chapter 6 when it saw that Daniel went to his upper room and prayed to the Lord three times a day as was his custom. What did Daniel and his companions do the many times their lives were on the line? Daniel 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 we continually find them running to the Lord in prayer in there times of need. Paul is through in jail in the book of Acts and he and Silas start singing and praying. Jesus would sneak away from the disciples, even if it meant getting up early after a long night of ministry, to spend massive amounts of time with the Lord in prayer. Daniel read the prophet Jeremiah and it lead to a time of repentance in his heart.

You might say, where are you going with this? While standing on your soapbox, you are not making much sense.

I cannot tell you the number of students over the last few years who were in dry places with the Lord spoke with me or someone else about wanting to turn back to the Lord. In that conversation they make a statement. “I don’t want to cliché answers though!”

What are the cliché answers they are referring to? Read your Bible more and spend more time in prayer. They are tired of receiving the prescription for their complacency or sinful living being prayer and the Bible. They are looking for some quick fix; some new fresh method to rekindle the flame in their spiritual walk. They are looking for something more. Attend a conference, talks to this person, just come forward, or something else that they have never heard of that will transform everything. Don’t give them the cliché old traditional answer. We live in the new age of technology; Isn’t there a podcast I can listen to that will change everything?

And while there are some time a speaker or a lesson really says something that will change the perspective we have on our life and our relationship with Christ, there really is no substitute to simply spending large parts of our day reading. It is the substance that causes those in the hall of faith to earn that recognition and it is the action that sums up over a third of the record time of Jesus in the New Testament. 

In John 15, Jesus said that I am the vine and you are the branches. He challenges believers to abide in him and he already abides in us. He says if we do that we will bear much fruit. But then he makes a real tough statement that many of us do not really believe. He says, “apart from me you can do nothing.”

So if reading your Bible more and spending more time in prayer is cliché Christianity, then I guess I am cliché. But that’s ok because I am in the company of such a great cloud of witnesses!

Me: Getting down off my soapbox

1 comment:

  1. I was once one of "those students". Stuck in a desert not knowing where to go. And I agree with the "cliche prescription" you are talking about. It would be impossible to maintain a relationship with God without prayer and reading His Word to us.

    But when I was in my desert I needed counseling, I needed discipleship, I needed to someone to tell me "imitate your life after me as I strive to imitate Jesus". (Paul talks about this). I needed an incarnational reality of Jesus because for all I knew I was holding the Bible upside down and reading words that were great for people in 30AD but it didn't fly for me.

    But honestly! How often does this model happen? Let's go with anywhere between seldom and rarely.

    And so...I would walk out of office after office with a list of assigned reading, with a book on prayer, a suggested list of scriptures for particular struggles.

    But no one was willing to teach me to pray, teach me how to stand on my own, then begin walking, then running, then fighting. That's why I look at the prescription and have to say "that's so cliche" because this is not what Jesus did for His disciples. He took the time to teach them so that they could understand and teach others.

    Just some thoughts.