Yesterday, I took a look at a few halmarks of “NORMAL CHRISTIANITY” or what normal has become for many of us western Christians. Some questions I’m asking of my faith journey is would a first century believer that moved to my neighborhood from Ephesus or Antioch or Jerusalem recognize anything of the way (Acts 9:2) in my normal Christianity? and…
What if Jesus were our standard for Normal? What might Christianity look like? A few thoughts:
- Taking Risk for the Good of Others. Philippians 2:3-8, outlines how Christ’s death was a series of sacrifices for the good of others. From coming to this world in the form of man to dying on a cross, he put others ahead of himself. And we are commanded to do the same, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…” Philippians 2:5 NLT. Following Christ means putting others first even at great risk to yourself.
- I adjust my life to WHATEVER God says. Prior to being crucified for a non-crime, Jesus ask the Father if there was any other way, but qualified his prayer with “Not my will but thine be done.” Normal Christianity seems to believe the chief qualifier is our happiness and pleasure, not God’s will and the good of others. What’s the qualifier for your obedience? Your desire or His?
- Responsiveness to the Needs of Others. One of the key words in the book of Mark is IMMEDIATELY. It’s used many times to describe how Jesus responded to the needs of others. Matthew 9:35, says that he saw the crowds and felt compassion, then responded by sending out disciples to meet their needs. What happens in your heart when you see the needs of others? or hear about a need?
- Upside Down Relationships. You want your faith to stand out? Try following Jesus’ instructions on relationships. Love your enemies. Don’t Judge. When you lend, don’t expect it returned. If someone has something against you, take the initiative to get it right. If someone ask you for a favor, do it times two. I’m convinced that if Christians would make Christ’s relational principles the norm, the world would be shaken.
- Going / Sending. Two of my favorite words in the story of Jesus are “Jesus went.” Speaks of his responsiveness and his desire to take the good news. I’ve said, I’d love for that to be on my grave stone, should I have one. “He went.” Along with those two words we see “Jesus sent.” He didn’t hold on to his followers and see the reasons they weren’t ready. He sent them out, allowing them the opportunity to experience the power of God and be used to expand the kingdom. Am I going? and as a leader, am I releasing and sending? The popular statement among leaders, “the church shouldn’t be known for its seating capacity, but its sending capacity” fits the Christ life and should be the norm. See my post on Creating Sending Capacity.
What else would you add to a list of Jesus norms?