Thursday, April 02, 2009

Do evangelicals need a more thorough conversion?

Conversion. I can remember the moment of my conversion quite clearly yet I would say I'm still being converted. Knowing Christ as Saviour is much easier than knowing Christ as Lord.

Christ the Saviour deals with my guilt and shame. I feel better. I feel loved.
Christ the Saviour assures me of forgiveness and a new start. I feel better. I feel good.

Christ the Lord calls me to deny myself. I feel resentful and unwilling.
Christ the Lord calls me to hate my own life. I feel this is unlikely.
Christ the Lord calls me to pick up my cross and follow. I feel if he loves me then he wouldn't ask too much of me.

I've been wondering for a while, that I need to ensure when I preach and call people to respond to Christ that I've proclaimed Christ not simply as Saviour but also as Lord, that the cost has been announced as well as the reward. But this submission to Christ as Lord is not just something for altar calls, but something for the people of God. We need to be converted to His way every day. That's the mark of a disciple. "Today God, convert me again. I submit."

Evangelicals are very familiar with the idea that becoming a Christian involves moral change. If we're promiscuous we should rediscover chastity, if we're lying we need to speak the truth, if we swear we must rediscover pure speech. But the whole point of Lordship means influence over all spheres of life - the way I spend must be just as converted to Christ as the way I speak and the way I deal with sex.

Yet I believe that by and large evangelicals have failed to yield to Him in the area of money and that goes for people who tithe too. We can give God our 10% and pay our religious dues and feel that in the area of money we have done our part. Money is a powerful thing and even a little can grip us. Generosity is not often achieved by a static percentage. Grace filled living and giving, joyous freedom from the 'deceitfulness of wealth' is not often achieved by the mere keeping of a rule.

Having said that for many of us the regular discipline of regular tithing would be an excellent place to start, but it's just a shame that so many of us stop there instead of pressing on to excel in this gift of generosity.

More than ever today the world needs to see that the church, the people of God are not held in the sway of money that it is Jesus not Mammon that is Lord over the church. The god Mammon may have taken a few blows right now, but none of the solutions being offered by the governments of this world suggest that Mammon is about to be dethroned. Now is the time for the church to rediscover a deeper conversion, a deeper following that frees us and others to discover 'the life that is truly life'.


Just a Disciple on 3 April 2009 at 10:51 said...

I think the danger is we get locked on one facet of Christian discipline or life, and neglect other areas.

Seems to me, it's a question of balance. - Money, and how we spend it, is an important question but more important is how we live for God in every area of our life. How we treat people, how we serve God, how we love God, how we look after the poor, how we nurture the week, how we maintain fellowship with God's family, how we reach the lost, how we dress, how we speak, how we act, how we think... all these are important.

Much of what we talk about is related to making our old self complicit to the nature of Christ, yet, if we truly believe our old self is gone, if we truly believe we have been born again, if we dwell with the spirit, and if we meditate on the word, don't the fruits of a life spent in and with Christ conform more readily to his nature?

We need to be very careful then not to simply attempt to reprogram ourselves by practice of actions (though practice does lead to improvement), rather to understand and pursue our identity and nature in Christ. The Jesus can indeed be Lord.

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