No, seriously, why are you a Christian? What is it about Christianity that makes a difference, daily, in your life? If you were to take Christianity out of your daily life, would anyone notice any difference? Would you? And is there a difference between being a Christian and being a Christ-follower? The Bible talks about a life-changing experience, but I don't see a lot of change. At least not in my own life. I don't see a lot of difference between the world and my claim to be Christian. Last night I was watching an action movie that was on cable, Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone. While it's not a great movie, I sat through it and listened as the characters dropped the F-bomb and G..D… time and time again, and I hardly flinched. Romans talks about us being transformed, but what am I to be transformed into? And what am I to be transformed from? And, more importantly, when does that transformation happen? We Christians love to talk about us "overcoming" the world, but most often it's the world that overcomes us. Instead of us making an impact on our culture, it's the culture that is making an impact on us. Why?

I've started reading a book by Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus. In the first chapter he writes about beliefs.

For contemporary Christians, there is an essential difference between belief and faith. Our religious beliefs are the visible expression of our faith, our personal commitment to the person of Jesus. However, if the Christian beliefs inherited from our family and passed on to us by our church tradition are not grounded in a shattering, life-changing experience of Jesus as the Christ, then the chasm between our creedal statements and our faith-experience widens and our witness is worthless. The gospel will persuade no one unless it has so convicted us that we are transformed by it.

In other words, our beliefs must become something more. Our beliefs about Jesus must become a faith in him. Manning writes, "Faith that will force us to pursue the mind of Christ, to embrace a lifestyle of prayer, unselfishness, goodness, and involvement in building his kingdom, not our own." Our beliefs must be more than notional knowledge – "abstract, faraway, largely irrelevant to the gut issues of life, just another trinket in the dusty pawnshop of doctrinal beliefs."

Manning finishes the chapter this way:

In the last analysis, faith is not the sum of our beliefs or a way of speaking or a way of thinking; it is a way of living and can be articulated adequately only in a living practice. To acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord is meaningful insofar as we try to live as he lived and to order our lives according to his values. We do not need to theorize about Jesus; we need to make him present in our time, our culture, and our circumstances. Only a true practice of our Christian faith can verify what we believe. (Italics mine – see quote on sidebar)

May the Lord continue to increase your faith and put focus to your beliefs.

B~

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