Every day of this pandemic, we are all having to reconfigure our days because what we have known is in such upheaval.
Is it the same for our spiritual life? Do you need to rethink your spiritual life in the same way your have started rethinking your work life? Your home life? Your student life? Your social life?
We may need to ask ourselves, if I am not going to a physical church or meeting with a physical small group am I still practicing my religion? Sure, I can watch church services from all over the world on my laptop but is that all I have been called to do as a Christian? Just consume Christian content like I consume cooking shows or Survivor?
Eugene Peterson calls the Christian life “a long obedience in the same direction.” The word ‘same’ might throw us off and give us a false sense of what we should be doing. We might think that we just have to maintain our church attendance, keep reading our Bibles, and pray occasionally and we have got this “same direction” thing down.
This would be wrong thinking.
The same direction is a person and we just finished celebrating his life, death, burial, and resurrection. Our long obedience is pointing to Jesus and his life and his purposes, and his teachings, and his cross, and his resurrection power. Our long obedience now is not toward more church attendance because we can’t attend church right now. Our long obedience is not toward consuming the next popular Christian vlog or online course, as helpful as these may be. Our long obedience, especially now, in the midst of a complete shutdown of society, is toward Christ.
This is why Growing Up, or spiritual formation, is so important and can never just be a nice add on to our Christian life. Because when all of our religious trappings are removed, we are just left with our life and what Christ is doing in our life and how our life is interacting with His.
Dallas Willard calls spiritual formation, learning “to live the kind of life that Jesus would live if he were you.” If Jesus was in your house, with your kids, your responsibilities, or lack there of, during this time, how might he be going about his day, what sort of things would he be doing, what sort of routines would he have? What would characterize his actions? This is what it means to be a Christian and what it has always meant to be a Christian.
Church attendance, Bible study participation, and consumption of Christian programming can be vitally important to a thriving Christian life but it can never be a replacement for an interactive, vibrant, and humble relationship with Jesus. What is it that the writer of Hebrews says? “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”
So during this time of shutdown, may you and I be reminded of our salvation in Christ and that this same Christ is to be relied upon to transform, shape, and renovate our lives. We have been forced to rethink how we do everything we might as well rethink how we do this Christian life and learn to Grow Up.
Don’t know where to start? Jesus will help you. Ask him and he will give you a starting point and then another and then another. Start today.