I’m sure that I’ve referenced the book by the late Charles Colson titled “How Now Shall We live” before but in case I haven’t, here is a short recap. The author was convicted of political crimes in the late 1970’s and sentenced to prison for his role in the infamous Watergate break-in under U.S. President Nixon. While in prison, he founded Prison Ministries. His book details the values that shape our Christian worldviews and begins to explain how our worldview points us in the directions that our lives can take. It is a great study of life and helps explain many of the teachings that most Christians hold true today using real life examples. It is a big book but worth reading if you need a little perspective or a detailed reminder of how we should be looking at the world around us.
So, how shall we live? Living a life of faith engages our ears, our hands and our hearts. It doesn’t mean we don’t use our other abilities but it also doesn’t mean that we simply watch our faith (eyes) or talk about faith (mouth), we really need to live it out. We use our ears to listen to the word of God and listen to the world around us. We can listen for the right time to witness or show compassion by listening to others as they share their troubles. We can learn about the messages of God through a number of mediums and bring it to use in our lives. Our hands can produce good work as a model for Christian living or to help others in need. Our hearts tell the rest of the story. As Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When you finish the book by Colson, you will have been exposed to examples of how to live a life today that demonstrates your Christian values without ever having to quote the bible “to sinners” or preach on the street corners. Christian living is about doing, not sitting around talking about what the world needs.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
Have you ever sat in a church service and felt like you were just going through the motions? Sure, you try and listen to the order of worship and maybe even lip synch the songs but your heart is just not in it. In today’s fast-paced world of short attention spans, it is becoming easier to just be physically present without being mentally engaged. I once had a conversation with a co-worker about what church meant to him and he described the services as being routine and an obligation. He wasn’t getting anything out them. I’d suggest that he was just listening the word. It is like walking in the rain with a raincoat on, you get a little damp but most of the water is repelled away.
The bible verse from James is telling us to not only walk in the rain but to do so without the raincoat; let the word soak you. Just listening to the word (going to services) is a means of deceiving ourselves. The only way we can do what it says is to become soaked by it. Understand the bible and its role in your life. Live your life in such a way that while you may not know the exact verse you are following, you do know that your behavior is a result of God’s word. Knowing the verses is important and will come later but the first step is recognizing that your understanding of the bible has formed your behavior. The word of God is like a warm shower, let it soak you and then enjoy the warmth it provides.