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Lifestyle Implications

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8)

Yes, it’s easy to say, “Oh, that’s a great Bible verse, yes, indeed, I’m just like Paul, I treasure Christ more than anything.”

Easy words to say.  But how do we live those words out, in this age of iPhones & Abercrombie?  How do we really treasure Him?

If our hearts have been changed, if we truly have counted all things loss, then there must be some lifestyle implications.  There must be something different, radically different, about our lives compared to anyone who doesn’t treasure Christ above all.

Anyone could look at Paul’s life and tell he wasn’t just blowing steam.  He had went from a respected academic and political position to an outcast and a prisoner.  No one ever looked at Paul & thought, “Hey, man, you say that you’re a Christian, but you’re no different than me.”

Take three minutes and watch this video:

Money is given to you so that you might use money in a way that shows money is not your treasure… Christ is.
Food is given to you so that you might eat it in such a way that it will be plain food is not your treasure… Christ is.
Friends, family are given to you so that you might live with them in such a way that it will be plain to the world they are not your treasure… Christ is.
Computers, toys, houses, lands, cars are given to you that you might use them in such a way that it will be plain to the world these are not your treasure… Christ is.

I have listened to those words over & over, and they still go deep into the core of my heart.  How do I use money in a way that shows money is not my treasure?  How do I eat, how do I love, how do I live a life that makes it plain that nothing is my treasure but Christ?

I don’t think this kind of life comes automatically once you become a Christian– it comes with a lot of thought and prayer and tears and sweat.  And it’s a path that you have to keep focused on, keep coming back to, keep asking God to show you more and more.

My two year contract on my iPhone is up this month.  As I discussed last year, I really had to think & pray over whether getting an iPhone was honoring to God, whether it was a God-focused desire or not.  Well, I’m putting a lot of thought and prayer in it again.  I have no doubt that it is a useful tool for me (I used it while writing this post), but is there any problem with treasuring Christ with it?  Would the $70 a month I’m spending for mobile internet access be better spent elsewhere? 

Honestly, it’s not as much what my final decision will be, as much as it’s that I’m down on my knees, knowing that it’s an issue, asking God for wisdom, trying to honor Him as best I can.  That’s where I need to be on every facet of my life, taking it to God with an open hand and a God-focused heart, knowing the lifestyle implications.

The Latest Breakthrough

Drug companies are spending billions of dollars every year to find ideal medicines to treat disease.

Finally, after dozens of research studies, NIH has found one treatment that definitively:

  • Is available on all managed care formularies
  • Can be taken only once a day
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves multiple cholesterol parameters
  • Most patients reported reduced weight
  • Has a low incidence of side effects
  • Does not cross-react with other drugs
  • Has an anti-stress and anti-depressant effect as well
  • Safe for both children and adults
  • …and even works great with an ipod!

Have you figured out what this ultimate miracle therapy is?
Look down a little further for a hint…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Journey Home

 

 

This film documentary could be titled “Extreme Extreme Famiily Makeover.”

It shares a basic premise with all of the “reality TV” shows— fairly typical American dysfunctional family gets thrown into lifestyle and situation totally foreign to them.

But then the REALLY extreme happens— God shows up.

Not in a fire or earthquake, but in a still small voice.

In plowing a field together.  In sharing meals and reading stories.

In playing in fields and ponds.  In conversation at a country store.

In living a radically different life, not for money or a new house or to be ogled at by millions of people, but to walk with God.

Six years before this film was made, Tommy Waller left his suburban job and suburban house and suburban income and suburban lifestyle and took his family to a house without electricity in a remote Tennessee Amish community.

The results?  A Journey Home– a journey to a true home, to a place and a lifestyle that became a lot closer to God’s original intent for a home and a family than many of us in Western culture today experience and live.

Is this video telling you to sell your house and give up electricity and have 11 kids?

No, and neither is God.

Am I going to sell my house and buy a horse and plow?

No, God isn’t telling me that either.

But am I willing to listen to God, to the still small voice that is so hard to hear in the midst of this awful din of Western culture, to carve out whatever time and space, whatever lifestyle that would help me best walk with God and glorify Him, no matter how counter cultural or difficult?

I think that’s the question this video is asking, and the question that God is asking me too.

Interested?  This award winning documentary is available for purchase here.

Why Jesus Junk?

A recent post by the blog The Doctor Is In dealt with the negative attitude that some non-believers have toward what Keith Green once termed “Jesus Junk”—the bumper stickers, pins, t-shirts, and other assorted paraphenalia that Christians often use to “identify” themselves.

That made me think, “Why?” Why Jesus Junk? So far I have been able to come up with five reasons:

1. To identify ourselves as part of the “in crowd” to ourselves. That’s not necessary. If we don’t know it from the witness of the Spirit a t-shirt isn’t going to help. If our self-image is really that fragile then we need to go back to the drawing board of who we are in Christ.

2. To identify ourselves to God. That’s REALLY not necessary to an omnipotent being, and it teeters dangerously on the edge of pharacism, getting in good with God by something we do in the name of God.

3. To identify ourselves as part of the “in crowd” to other Christians. Not necessary! Christianity isn’t a club, it’s a body, we are knit together by something far deeper and more eternal than a bumper sticker.

4. To proclaim God’s name and glorify Him. Yes, giving glory to God is a good thing, but there is an important matter of wisdom and discernment, which is often absent from Jesus junk. How much glory God really gets from a cheap t-shirt with a loose association to a pop cultural symbol is questionable at best, and if it more likely results in derision or laughter from a non-believer it is even more questionable. “Do not throw your pearls before swine”

5. To say to non-believers “I know something you don’t know.” Whoa, extremely not necessary! Spending time at the foot of the Cross ought to produce abject humility, not spiritual pride.

6. As a way to witness to non-believers and say “I have something that you really would like to have.” Well, that might work if there weren’t all the people in category 5 that had already left a bad taste in the mouth of most non-believers. I seem to remember Jesus telling us that they would know we were his disciples by our love. If non-believers see our love, they won’t need to see our t-shirts. If they don’t see our love, then the t-shirts aren’t going to help any.

I don’t want to make any blanket statement that any public display of the fact that we belong to Christ is wrong—I just think we need to be a lot more discerning about why we are putting that fish on our bumper, whether it truly brings glory to God and advancement to the Kingdom.