Regular Life Matters

February 1, 2012

For some strange reason my brain tends to reach milestones where, after laboring a problem for some while, it seizes upon something and says, “This is it!”  This morning I had one of those moments.   This may come out a bit stream-of-consiouness-ish, but here it goes:

God’s people have always been meant to display God’s character and life to the world: created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28), blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:1-3), Israel is to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), the church is God’s nation and priesthood (etc.) sent to make disciples and proclaim God’s virtues (Matthew 28:19-20; I Peter 2:9).

God’s character is put meant to be put on display through how we live regular life: seen in ruling over and tending creation (Genesis 1:26, 28), in Israel’s life as a nation (note the regularity of the laws in Exodus-Deuteronomy), in who Jesus ate with and associated with (Luke 5:30; 7:34; 15:1), in Paul’s rebuke of Peter’s eating habits (Galatians 2:11-14) and in the regularity of the elder requirements (I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). Ultimately the goal is that followers of Jesus would “maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that…they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears” (I Peter 2:12).  It is in the regularity of our marriages, self-control, hospitality, teaching, relationship with money, gentleness, parenting, etc. that God’s character and life are to be put on display.

For me the above shift has revolutionized the way I think about sharing my faith in Jesus with other people.  Where in the past “Come to this Bible study with me” or “Come to church with me” would have been early invitations to friends who don’t trust Jesus for their salvation, I’m finding the front door to faith has shifted.  Instead I’m finding myself more interested in doing the things listed in the previous paragraph with people who don’t know Jesus:
…I want to live accessibly so that my marriage–both its weaknesses and strengths–would display God’s relationship to us.
…I want to parent alongside others so that my parenting would invite others to trust in my Father.
…I want to eat with people because food is not an escape or salvation itself, it is a good gift to be enjoyed as evidence of God’s provision.

And in all these things I expect that God’s work in me will evidence something of God’s character and life and my continued brokenness will evidence much of our need for God to provide a savior.  This is the front door to my life. But, this is not new news.  This is news that has been steeping in my heart for some time now.  The epiphany of this morning is that this front door is not just for non-believers, it is for believers too.

Believers and non-believers alike are in need of discipling.  And as far as I can tell, the Bible seems pretty certain that regular life-on-life connection is the best way to disciple a person–if it isn’t then why on earth did Jesus bother doing his discipleship that way?  No, I’m not going to stop inviting people to come experience the night my MC gathers as a whole, but I am going to start inviting people who are interested in my MC into more regular life with us.  Come eat with us.  Clean up the park with us.  Go grocery shopping with us.  Play with my kids with me.  These are where you will see the Gospel’s power and purpose embodied–yet still broken–in the relationships that are so intimate I couldn’t hide my need if I had wanted to.


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