Making The Christian Life Hard
There are some pitfalls with “Dualistic Applicational Overstatements” . . . .
“Dualistic Applicational Overstatements” are typically found when exhortations leave the listener with only . . . .
Yes Or No Answers
One Or The Other (No Inbetweens)
True Or False Options
It Is Or It Isn’t True
Is your prayer life where it needs to be?
You are either living for Jesus, or you are living for the Devil.
Do you love Jesus this morning? Is that true in your life?
Are you an obedient believer?
Do you love the Lord desperately or are you lukewarm?
Are you living “The Consistent Christian life?”*
Do you have a desire to be in church, or is it a burden**
Actions, attitudes, and decisions are not always that black and white in life and/or the Christian life. That does not mean that there is no “Black & White” / “Right & Wrong” — there are!
But it does mean that there are also . . . .
♦ Good – – – – Better – – – – Best
♦ Bad – – – – Worse Yet – – – – Terrible
♦ Wise – – – – Unwise
♦ Safe – – – – Further Away – – – – Closer – – – – Too Close – – – – Far Too Close
♦ Effectively Different – – – – Ineffectively Different
That is also true when it comes to marriage and raising children. If you put too much into the dualistic categories of “Right & Wrong” — plan for a lot of festering disagreement, and maybe little meaningful change. Many issues are not about “Right & Wrong,” but about . . . . . “Different” / “Better” / “Wise” / “Best” / “Safer.”
Some preachers-teachers approach life’s decisions, options, choices, thinking, or vantages as either “Right or Wrong.” Some make it hard to attain godliness-sanctification-Christlikeness — no less “hear” — by such dualistic exhortations.
Is there not a world of difference between these two exhortations . . . .
#1) God’s program was for a day of rest — We call it the Lord’s Day as New Testament believers. However, God’s people have made it just another Saturday, with an hour or two shifted into the schedule for a church service(s).
It is time to make the Lord’s Day — the Lord’s Day. To get yourself to a Sunday School class — where you need to be for the sake of yourself and/or your family!
Forget staying up late Saturday night and then being so tired on Sunday morning that you have trouble staying away.
For too many, attending the Sunday services is not the pattern and that needs to change in your life. It is time to make a decision who is Lord of your life.
Turn off the television and open your Bible. You don’t need television — 7 days a week!
#2) God’s program was for a day of rest — We call it the Lord’s Day as New Testament believers. However, God’s people have made it just another Saturday, with an hour or two shifted into it for a church service(s).
We might disagree on what we ought to be doing on the Lord’s Day, but isn’t it true that we could all do better in making it His Day, not our day. Are there not some changes which could and should be made to make it more “His Day” and not just another Saturday?
Can we do better at worship, at prayer, at Bible reading, at removing ourselves from the secular side of life and living, at avoiding the physical demands of jobs and home life, at enriching ourselves spiritually, at watching less television on a Sunday?
We can all do better at using our Sundays — by making some changes — some good changes.
There is a different tone because there is a different appeal. And the appeal is different because it recognizes that none of us change that fast when it comes to living out the Christian life!*
We can all — progressively . . . .
drop the terrible
move further away for the world
be more effective
Some might conclude . . . “No — The first exhortation is the “right” way, and the second one is “wrong” — It is compromising the truth!”
Yep — that is what I am addressing!
While there is nothing “wrong” with what is being said in the first exhortation — it is not just a matter of “Right & Wrong.”
However, isn’t it more helpful to give people room to grow — like we were given when we were first saved!
♦ Can we do better in our prayer life?
♦ Can we make different decisions when it comes to living like the world?
♦ Can we be wise, wiser, maybe far wiser — when it comes to what we watch, alcohol, the language we use, where we go?
♦ Would our lives change in a positive would if we moved even further from the world?
♦ Isn’t it true that we would be more effective in our witness if we made a change in our language?
♦ Showing more interest and concern than we have — would that impact the effectiveness of our testimony?
♦ Do we need to change some of our habits when it comes to what we are willing to participate in?
Too often the argument is not made for incremental change, but a radical change that the listener cannot process as doable or possible — at least not at this time in his-her life.
Barnabas Piper, as the wayward, returned, and presently re-wayward son of Pastor John Piper, said in an interview . . . .
BP: The biggest negative was not connecting with God in a personal way. My dad’s view of, and relationship with, God is so big and so powerful that it looked like the only way to come to God. But it didn’t work for me. It wasn’t until I was out of college and things kind of fell apart for me that I encountered God’s grace and the person of Jesus in a profound way on my own.
I do believe that parents — and especially pastors — can construct such a big, high, holy, construct, that it seems if a believer loves him anything less than that, there can be no relationship with Him. The average “Joe” just can never measure up. The choices are – love God desperately and be satisfied in Him alone or plan on always “flying coach” — always be second class. There is nothing in-between! There is little-to-no room for real struggle, ups-and-downs, less than “all our hearts.”
“And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers!
for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne,
and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”
We can help. . . .
by how we make the argument!
* Have you ever heard some say, “Are you living the consistent Christian life?” My answer is, “No.” If you mean by that, “Is all that I know and understand being worked out in my life?” While there are some changes which occur quickly and completely, most of my sanctification is progressive.
** “I’m here!”
How about that as a step in the right direction!