Moving Beyond Going through the Motions
Sometimes living a life of faith is difficult. The difficulty comes in all forms. Sometimes we feel like we are going through the motions. Sometimes the people around us make it feel nearly impossible to be Christ-like. There are other times when we just feel down because of circumstances outside of our control. It is not that we feel like giving up, it’s just that we seem to run out of energy to do much of anything, especially with regard to matters of faith.
Have you ever felt that way? I have. As I sit here at my computer looking out onto the churchyard with the sanctuary hovering over me, I wonder how many of us deal with a sense of apathy or malaise at times? I suspect all of us. What can we do to recapture both the energy and excitement that being a disciple brings? What can we do to make sure we don’t stand in the way of what God wants us to do and experience on such days?
Paul writes something to the church in Corinth, in his first letter to them, that gives me a direction during times of struggle or apathy. I don’t have to find a new way to God, nor do I have to feel particularly inspirational. All that matters is Jesus. If I can take my focus off myself and on to Him, not just what He has done for me but on who He is and the love and grace that He freely bestows on me, things begin to change. Just listen to Paul and notice how he emphasizes that Jesus doesn’t needs us to speak eloquently or frankly do anything. We need to focus on Him. When we do, we will begin to realize what God has done for us and the promise of what is to come. That changes everything for me:
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”--
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:1-9