Opening Post

Posted: August 21, 2012 in CE/Youth MInistry

I need to begin blogging regularly. I welcome any of you who want to read my thoughts to my blog. My blog is mainly to cover two areas. Reflections on how best to work with the Spirit so students grow, and general reflection on the vibrant realities of the faith as they connect to life. Because my mind may be preoccupied with the lesson the students are learning, I may often write more reflectively on the topic that is being discussed at youth group. However, I may also delve into reflections beyond the scope of what I go into during youth group, and I invite students to use this blog as a peek into my thoughts.
I wanted to open up with what I thought the goal of our Christian life should be, that which we should be striving after ourselves and helping those we love strive after, (by the power of the Spirit of course!) There are aspects of our walk, and of students walk, that are important but are not the ultimate end. Take content for example. I would argue that, while the basic content is needed to have faith, and better understanding of more content can enhances someone’s liveing out the faith, mastering of content is not our ultimate goa in life or for those we minister to. I can speak for myself that I have a better  mastery of content than many believers I have met who put me to shame with their maturity. Nor is it simply actions. One could say “it’s a heart issue” but heart too often means simply a matter of emotions or intentions. And good intentions are not enough, the well meaning person who does wrong still does wrong.
The goal of our walk and the sign of our maturity is best stated as Devotion to Christ. Devotion requires some accurate knowledge in order to be devoted to the right thing, and involves emotions and actions which spring from deep affections. I think it captures what people are trying to get at when they talk about our whole lives being an act of worship (to devote something to God was to hand it over to him as an act of worship) and yet preserves the difference between the Living sacrifice that is all our life, and the sacrifice of praise that is one part of the church’s ministry Thus, Devotion is our goal. A person may know a great deal, have many works or many experinces, but the people we shoule try to be like are those who have the most single minded devotion to Christ, be they PhD’s or Delivery Drivers. And I have seen plenty of “uneducated” people who put me to shame with their devotion.
This is the sign of Chritian faith, not being in the right tradition or having an adequate undertsanding of the latest controversy. This is not to say that a tradition closer to revealed truth will not be of great help in it’s people having devotion, but the traditions accuracy itself would not guarantee it. And if devotion to the tradition, be it reformed theology, Charasmatic experience, anglican liturgy, or Lutheran sacramentalism, in front of devotion to the person of Christ, then even the perfect tradition would be of little avail.
So it seems to me this should be our Goal and the goal of those we minister to. We have as our goal in ministry BEING over DOING. We want to be and make Devout followers of Christ. It is important to keep this in mind when we do our elements of Christian Education. When we are teaching them new facts about God, it is not so they can show off how smart they are to their friends, and it is certainly not so they can pass a test. They learn to know more to guide their devotion. Likeswise when we teach them to serve, they serve out of devotion to Christ not with a passion to assuage some guilt or fulfill their duty to  manking.
I’m really struggling to get devotion to the person of Christ to be my goal. My default is to see how much I know as the test of how I’m doing spiritually. At other times, it’s what I’m doing, my actions. But my single-mindedness needs to move from knowing about Christ, to being devoted to Him. And even actions may be for Christ or for many other reasons, if I am driven to act out of wanting to be seen as moral, or to assuage inner guilt, than it is of no benefit in my fight to become Christ like. But out of devotion, than yes. I hope that this can become my only goal, that I really set my mind and heart on it.

however, in my next post, I want to deal with a doubt that can keep us from pursuing devotion that is not often talked about. It is not the unbelief that God will satisfy, or the belief that anything is more worthwhile than devotion to Christ. It is the belive, often form experience, that though devotion is the goal, I am too weak to ever be devoted, and so I can despair of striving for it.

Grace and Peace, Luken

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