Effort vs. Effectiveness (Part 1)

Just to be clear right out of the gate this article is meant for everyone but in very different ways. If you don’t consider yourself a Christian and somehow stumbled onto this there is perhaps within it a few windows into the core of what the Bible teaches about God and His overarching plan and role for humanity in the world. For believers of all levels of maturity there is hopefully a grounding effect that will provide some tools to keep your relationship and life with God exactly where He intends it to be. And for my fellow ministers there may be for you, as there has been for me an almost sobering call to see what we are called to do in step with how God actually functions. Here goes…

Wait Up!

Before we can even get to what this ‘effort’ is all about I first I feel that there is an amazingly important question that needs to be asked because there are so many incorrectly assumed answers within our congregations.

What the heck is Christianity all about?

Go ahead, write it down. Your thoughts, the things that you have heard or how you assume that those around you would reply. It is a good little exercise. As a Christian, if you’ve ever heard a testimony from the stage or maybe even the baptismal that has caused an eyebrow to raised then you know where we may be headed.

Let me shoot ahead and spoil the process a bit; the whole point is to be part of our God glorifying universe and to do so for who Him as HE (yes all caps) has revealed himself to be. Humanity, not just Christians exist with the capacity to perceive Him for who He is, to be loved, fulfilled and blessed by the very nature of His character and then to make large of Him, to be excited – in other words the natural outpouring of the discovery of the greatness of God is the worship-filled lives of mankind.

But.

All of this God-glorifying and worshiping currently falls into the hands of Christians. Not because they are somehow better (I am one, have served many and met even more and we can be worse than most) but because of one singular and unearned point. A crucified and risen Jesus. It is our seeing God for who He is and what He has done that makes us recipients of His rebellion undoing grace. The whole point is that everything, including our lives, is about revealing Jesus.

“…everything, including our lives is about revealing Jesus.”

Stay Focused

Now stay with me because we are about to split a VERY important hair. Christianity is possible because of the cross but it is about God – not the cross. Breathe. The reason that this is so important to understand is because anyone who has come to understand who Jesus is as God and has placed their faith in him has understood that there was a problem – SIN. This impossible to overcome and laughably impossible to repay problem of ‘my way not Yours’  keeps us from Him and honestly from wanting to be with Him in the first place. Yet the tendency of the believer is to first accept Jesus as Lord, God, Saviour and then to knowing that everything is already accomplished through the cross of Christ. Concerning being ‘right’ before God they are correct but as far as living a Christian life they’ve got nothing going; at least not yet.

In the cross we have the perfect balance of God’s hatred and wrath against sin and the absolute display of love and grace – that He would step into our suffering, be made low and take onto Himself the just price of our belittlement of Him. However we are disposed to seeing a problem to be overcome and in salvation we need a saviour – someone to do what we cannot but our humanity cries for our own self-defined and too-large a role before God. Promptly after being ‘saved’ we take everything back into our own feeble hands and chase after the same means of fulfillment as everyone else on the planet and make a right crap mess of it all.

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Ryan Rainville

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