Monday, January 29, 2007

Why do I serve God?
Fear was my initial motivation. Forgiveness. . .
That was a long time ago.
What holds me, now?
I've certainly no desire or temptation of desire to forsake my Christianity.
Why is that? It may seem an odd question, but it is begotten from my distrust of human nature in general, and my own nature in particular.
I believe that I am a child of God. I also recognize my insufferable humanity.
I observe that I am impressed by Christianity.
I read books by C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, and G.K. Chesterton and am gratified by the philosophical and intellectual royalty that raises Christianity to its throne as king of religions.
I was born of Christian parents, neither of whom have ever given me the slightest reason to disrepect the heritage they have given me.
I am the grandchild of exemplary Christians, people known for their testimony.
I married a Christian woman who delights in the law of the Lord.
My sister and brother-in-law serve God.
My in-laws, uncles, aunts, cousins serve God.
What troubles me in unguarded moments is this: I have no reason to be anything other than a Christian.
Have you ever wondered how much of your experience is positive peer pressure?
Surely you have noticed how much easier it is to hunger and thirst after righteousness when righteousness is the food and drink of choice of your companions.
Surely you have noticed how much you desire humility when you observe it in others and wish I would that others could see that in me.
Surely you have noticed that prayer acquires much more fervor and reality in the presence of a saint, and how difficult it is in the presence of a sinner.
Surely you have noticed how incredulity tempers your boldness.
Falderal, whippersnapper, you may say. What of it? Count your blessings.
I don't wish to strain at gnats, but in quickly dismissing this question I sometimes feel as if I'm making a molehill out of a mountain.
Thank God for your Christian heritage, you say. Thank God for your upbringing. I truly am.
Be thankful for your Christian companion. I am too grateful for words.
Deepen your knowledge of apologetics, then, and fortify your faith with the words and writings of wiser men. Populate your world with saints and follow their example.
I intend to.
But whence cometh my motivation to serve God? From all these?
I have made my Christianity something to be enjoyed. An easy yoke it is, and yet I sometimes feel as if I've unkowingly shrugged off the yoke and trot on down the road, empty harness flapping behind me.
How positive is positive peer pressure if it props up your salvation?
What would I do if there no Lewis, no Zacharias, no Focus on the Family, no Steven Curtis Chapman, no Frank Peretti, no parents, no grandparents, no Devan?
Stripped of all the decorations I have draped over my Christianity, would it look like our artificial Christmas tree on New Years Day; miserable, naked, drab, ready to be dismembered and packed away for another year?
How deep do the roots go?
How solid is the foundation?
What would a good stiff wind leave behind?
I cannot know this. I can only prepare.
Study to show thyself approved


Anonymous said...

I think you sell yourself short, but I do understand what you're saying. I haven't spent much time thinking about this, but I would say that my motivation for being a Christian is that there is absolutely nothing (or I should say No One) else to turn to. (Forgive my ending preposition.) Very good, and, as usual, thought-provoking writing. (Even though I did want to know what happened to the little boy.)

Jen said...

What a scary think I may be a Christian simply because that is the 'path of least resistance' in my sheltered and very blessed world. Even when I am not immediately among those who have molded who I am (as you mentioned: parents, grandparents, spouse, siblings etc...)it is still 'easy' to resist what would be temptations for most merely because for my whole life I have been surrounded by that 'positive peer pressure'.
As usual your blog spurred a conversation between Sam and I and he helped me not to be too bogged down by this fear. As you said "I cannot know this, I can only prepare". But I liked what he said as well. "How did you become a Christian?" "What a silly question" I said and did not even answer him. and again "How did you become a Christian?" "By asking Christ into my heart" I quipped, a little aggravated that he was dumbing down this intellectual conversation. "But why do I stay a Christian" and his answer was simple "have you willfully transgressed a known law of God?" Breanna started crying then (saved by the bell) but I didn't quit thinking about it. His next question would have probably been, Do you want to transgress...? And still my answer would have been "no" which in a way still brings us back to the beginning but it made me realize "I hope" that I don't need to try to "do something" to prove to myself, or to God, I would still be a Christian even if I wasn't surrounded by 'positive peer pressure.' Just accept God's forgiveness and 'prepare'.
Thanks for your thought provoking post. (What did happen to that little boy)