Saturday, May 26, 2007

Living the Christian Life

Lately I have become very much aware of the tremendous efforts that most people exert in seeking to know how to be “good Christians.” In pursuit of being good, people seem to spend nearly inexhaustible measures of energy seeking to gain an understanding of how to live a holy life.

If you are among those who find themselves ceaselessly asking questions like, “OK, I’m a Christian, now what?” then this subject will be of interest to you.

What is required of a person who seeks to live the Christian life?

Let’s approach this question from the perspective of everyday life. What is required of a person who seeks to live the Human life? Let’s consider the requirements.

1. The person must be conceived.
2. The person must be carried through the full gestational term.
3. The person must be delivered alive into breathable air.
4. The person must evacuate the amniotic fluid that has been breathed previously so as to begin breathing air.
5. The person must be fed, nurtured, protected, and taught to eat, drink, and live safely.
6. The person must continue to breathe, eat, drink, and live safely.

Sounds simple enough. Yet people often forget what was done for them in requirements 1-5 and therefore forget that the knowledge of #6 was received as a gift. Then they try to reinvent and redevise #6. Instead of simply continuing in the way that has been provided freely, they often seek alternative ways of living, ways that end in trouble, sickness, and even death.

Christians come into being in the same way. Jesus told Nicodemus that a person enters the kingdom of God through the rebirth or regeneration by water and the Spirit (John 3). In John 1:13 we are told that those who become children of God are “born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” It is the same as with #s 1-5 above with a few modifications. The children of God are conceived not by blood, but by water and the Spirit through Baptism and the preaching of the Gospel. Like with the gestation of the person in the womb, the life of faith is generated and maintained not by any decision of the one who is conceived, but by the will of God. The child of God is surrounded not by amniotic fluid, but by the water and the Spirit, the Word of God in Baptism. Coming out of the water the newborn child of God begins to breathe the air, that is, the Spirit-given Word that the child is surrounded by in the Church. Additionally, the newborn child of God is given the food of life for the soul, the body and blood of forgiveness and faith. The child of God is instructed or catechized regarding the necessity of continuing to breathe the pure air of the Gospel and to eat and to drink, so that when the child of God has reached a reasonable age the child knows to continue with this way.

This newborn child of God receives continual nurture and care from God’s bride, the child’s holy mother, the Church. In the Church the child of God is surrounded by the love of God and grows to know this love in all areas of life. All the ways of love are demonstrated in the nurture and care received from God the Father through Mother Church. As God’s love is observed, the child walks in the way of this love.

This is called: Living the Christian Life.

Simple enough? It is so simple that only the littlest ones truly understand it, as Jesus demonstrated when He held up a nursing baby as the example of what we all must be through faith. The less that we rely upon our own reason and strength, looking more and more to the Lord as our sufficiency, the better we understand the Christian Life.

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