Friday, February 24, 2006

It Isn't Digging Ditches

I hear so much talk about externalism and internalism and standards and legalism and authoritarianism and balance and liberty and license and freedom and oppression and strictness, that this makes me think that one of Satan's big attacks is that this is all too complex and definitely too hard. Most of the Christian life doesn't require much effort. I'm not saying that we shouldn't put out a lot of it, but it is not explicitly required for most of what the Lord wants us to do. God does all the heavy lifting. In a lot of ways, we are just along for the ride. And yet more and more professing Christian leaders seem to be looking for ways to make it even easier than it already is, reducing everything down to a very short formula that can fit on a sidebar. I'm waiting for church attendance to get done by clicking on some hyptertext, proxy congregational singing done by cyber replacements. People stress today over having to button their top button. A tie is really a ball and chain. Turning the pages of a hymnbook could send humpty dumpty crashing from his padded pew. Conforming to the world is not just an acceptable technique; it's crucial for ministry success. You just don't get it if you think there's much to get. And all of this because the old way was way too difficult, led by people that thrived on pain.

We live in the era of the three sleepy C's---casual, comfortable, and convenient. It's supposed to be a period of individuality, but everybody's hair is messed up---the toweled off look. How can so many people be stepping out of the shower and right into a pair of jeans that look like they came out of the hamper? Almost everything is automated. Gone are the days of a mustard stained Rand McNally with plenty of greasy finger prints. Now, we just "map it." "Do you need directions?" "No, I'll just map it." "Sweet." My hold is in at the library; I got a call from the computer.

So much of this doesn't fit with what are really the minimal demands of following Christ. New Bibles are organized to make it even easier by divying out little portions that can be read while you finish your coffee. Prayer is a way of getting things, like rubbing a magic lamp. You pray the prayer of Jabez and the genie jumps out and gives you your three wishes. God can't be a cosmic killjoy, so He must be a heavenly bellhop. He's all about you enjoying your stay.

Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. He has given all things richly to enjoy, wants to supply our needs, gives us rest and hope, loves, keeps, completes and strengthens us, and has promised to never leave or forsake us. What do we do? Read our Bible and pray. Preach the Gospel. Attend church faithfully. Do what He said, which is not too hard to understand and it's the basic stuff that someone should want to do anyway. We will have to struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil, but what He wants us to do isn't hard to figure out and with Him it's even easy to do. It isn't anything like digging ditches.

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