Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Focused Christian Life

“Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”

~Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NRSV)

“On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived.”

~Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

What is Christian discipleship other than knowing the Lord more and more intimately by the way of living well as possible—in God’s sight—the struggles of life? This is a serious adherence to the discernment of the will of God.

What has the exorbitant consumption of knowledge have to do with such an endeavour? Why do we fill our minds and lives and living rooms and, not less, our focus with that which cannot help us on the Day of Judgment, but only hinder?

The quest for knowledge, for the gain of resource, for education at the hand of humanity, endless degrees and corpuscles of human endorsed achievement will be rendered null. If it has no practical benefit in this life, why do we engage in it?

A great many Christians have won their self-control over substances and vices, only to lose it in the cherished chase for wisdom—a knowledge-based wisdom. They have the Spirit’s provision over one, yet have relented to the replacement of God in the other. What good is knowledge if it becomes the source of worship? We can know that it has become a source of worship when we not only see it as the halcyon grail, but when we also stridently (and blindly) cling to truth (our truth) over God’s will in situations, through pride. Our devotion always impacts our action.

That is the test for the knowledgeable—for the one who may have decided for knowledge over application—the one lost in love to doctrine.

No, there is more to life.

The Christian Life As Revealed In The Gospels

Jesus railed hard against the Pharisee. God incarnate could condemn nobody but the one condemning everyone, and, in the process, not least themselves. It was the Pharisee who had lost the plot in life; the one that put discernment of the Scriptures above morality, the one that ‘perfected’ the Law, was themselves an abomination of the godly life.

The Pharisee is revealed here, today, in churches all over the world, and indeed everywhere humanity congregates. He and she are revealed by the fervent ardency of their opinions. Pharisaic thinking infiltrated humanity, as the temptation to self-righteousness, from the Fall.

Jesus revealed the living God to us in his being, by being present here with us, in humility, in the modelling of Christian life—his life. And the Lord revealed this not only to Christians, but he revealed a life that is credited to us as righteousness when it is lived by faith, recalling the story of Abraham (refer to Galatians; Romans 1:16-17).

Endless chatter and opinion have nothing to do with the godly life; they take us away from that which God has for us—the focus on need that can be served, here, today. And there is never less need in the present day than at any time in history.

It is perhaps worthy, for the sake of the present discussion, to end with another Thomas á Kempis quote, this time at the reverse of the first one:

“What good is much discussion of involved and obscure matters when our ignorance of them will not be held against us on Judgment Day?”


In a world where so much can be said, we ought to live for a higher purpose regarding that which can be done. In a world with so much wrong about it, we have just as much opportunity to do right; especially the small things. In a world of endless distraction, we are much more adept to focus on loving God before all other loves.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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