Rounding a bend in the deteriorated strip of asphalt, our crowded bus creaked to a halt. Conversations dwindled to a whisper. We had arrived at the mountain shrine. Several passengers knelt before the monument, paid their solemn obeisance, and left their offerings. The ceremony completed, our vehicle began its descent, gathering speed around hairpin bends, hurtling towards the city. A din of banter again surged above the engine’s roar.
As the jungle sped by, I began to wonder if we at times erect shrines on the hillsides of our lives. Could we unwittingly relegate our religion to the lonely monument of a mountaintop experience? Might Christianity become but a shred of life, a relic to which we pay occasional homage? Might we ride high on a wave of spiritual fervor one day, only to slump into secular despair the next? Could it be that after our high time, we abandon our high calling?
Genuine Christianity, however, must embrace all of life. Whether in word or in deed, we are to do all “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).1 Whether we eat or drink – or whatever we do, we are to do it all “to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Consequently, each activity in which we engage must connect to God. Each incident acquires eternal significance, shaping our lives for eternity.
Christians cannot live in a false dichotomy – segmenting life into spiritual and secular realms. We cannot piously worship on Sabbath and then disconnect from God as we head to “the rest of our lives.” We cannot merely include a brief devotional thought at the start of our day and then dash out to the marketplace, without any further thought about God or His plan for our lives. Christianity is all or nothing. There is no neutral territory, no halfway allegiance, no precarious fence-sitting. Christ Himself declared, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” (Matthew 12:30).
To live a fully Christian life, a Christian must first think Christianly. Every thought must be brought into submission to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Scripture reminds us, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). But what does it mean to receive “the mind of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 2:16). To receive Christ’s mind means that we see all things from His point of view. We begin to see others as God sees them, as candidates for His kingdom. We consider each decision as an opportunity to do what Jesus would do. We view each moment in the light of eternity. How do we receive this divine perspective, this “renewing of our mind?” (Romans 12:2). We receive the mind of Christ by spending quality time with God – with His Word and in conversation with Jesus. It is by beholding that we become changed (2 Corinthians 3:18). And then we intentionally live each moment in the presence of God (1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18). The result? A Christian mind will lead to Christian thought, Christ-like decisions, Christ-like actions, and Christian witness.
Today there is a crucial need to develop true Christian minds. The critical problem is that “Christians” think largely in secular terms, to the point that the Christian perspective is almost nonexistent. Often, we think spiritually only about personal morality or doctrinal themes. In our short-sighted vision, we sometimes even think secularly about religious concerns, such as baptismal goals, offerings, or positions within the church.
Occasional Christian references, prayers, and proof texts, however, are insufficient. These by themselves are mere tokens, evidences of a fragmented, dichotomized life. A pervasive spiritual commitment, however, cannot be banished into a corner of life. It must continually permeate the farthest reaches of our existence, of our very being. We must learn to live fully the faith life. The eternal perspective must radically revolutionize our hearts.
We do not need a Christian badge pinned on the lapel of life. We need genuine Christian lives. We do not need individuals who can also serve as Christians on special occasions. We need consistent, authentic Christians.
Christianity is more than a shrine. It is a lifelong calling, a forever commitment. Christians are not simply to live for a job, a family, or a position. In all things, we are to live for Christ.
It is dangerously easy to become so caught up in a frantic pace, a hectic dash through life, that we forget our mission and our destiny. Christ’s call breaks into our dizzying whirl of activity. He invites us to make our high calling sure (2 Peter 1:10).
Eternity stretches before us. The City lies just ahead.
John Wesley Taylor V, Editor