Monday, April 29, 2013

For the Beat-Up, Dress-Up Christian

Have you ever heard of a cotyledon?


Neither had I, but apparently 3rd graders in Kentucky need to know what it is in relation to parts of a plant, and it's up to me to let them know all about it in science class.

I'm the worst science student who's married to a family of bio/chem students, and yet I'm expected to teach science content to the future scientists of America! I will admit that there were several times during student teaching when I had to research the content so that I could understand it enough to teach. And even then, I would be in the middle of a science lesson and get completely confused.

But I'm sure I learned all that stuff at some point in elementary school... right?

Being surrounded by Christianity practically my entire life, I've learned the basic building blocks of the Christian faith and totally have all 66 books of the Bible memorized. I've read, prayed, sang, learned, listened, recited, and applied the truths of the Bible millions of times in a thousand different ways for 20 years, yet there is always some new truth to learn or remember. And this is good, for it reminds me that the Bible is living AND active all the time.

I let Him take over my life at age 7, but somewhere along the way my Christian walk became more about "why can't I be more ____"s and "people will praise me if ____"s... until suddenly my walk wasn't about delighting in and serving Jesus. It was about serving others by trying to perfect myself.

When we forget those truths that we learned at the very beginning-- those about Christ dying to save our imperfect and dead souls so that we might live forever with Him as if we never sinned against Him-- Christianity becomes too much about an attempt at impressing others and, surprisingly, impressing the all-knowing God. And when they aren't impressed, we're crushed.

So how about we take a step back and remember some truths that we might have learned in elementary school?
"But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-- it is by grace you have been saved." -Eph. 2:4-5
Praise the good Lord that He is rich in mercy. Even when I was dead (that's the rotting-under-the-ground-and-rather-stinky kind of dead) in sin, He made me alive again (that's the vibrant-and-breathing-with-color-to-my-face kind of alive). He saved me because of grace-- NOT because I did everything right. And even today, I continue to be spiritually alive (and physically alive, I suppose) only because His grace lets me be.

I learned these verses earlier than I learned how to multiply. Why, then, do I keep living as if His grace depends on my action?

Just for a day or five, put down the fancy-shmancy Bible Study book and pick up, ya know, the Bible. Read the basic truths that you probably already have memorized, and read them until you actually read the words. Then let them sink in.

And in case you care, a cotyledon is the embryo of a plant as it grows into a seedling. And I'm sure that was a basic fact that I learned in elementary school. Yes.

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