Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mecentric Faith

The great cry of the evangelical church has been the need for individuals to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. While I think every single person must decide what they are going to do with and about Jesus, no where do I find the concept of a personal relationship with Jesus in the scriptures. When someone comes into a relationship with Jesus, it is done in the context of community. In fact more often than not when someone has a life changing encounter with Jesus, they are restored to a community from which they had been estranged. Still there is a focus on the individual relationship.

The results of this individual focus has reached tragic proportions. The life of the church has been greatly impacted by the individual focus. More and more people are only concerned with what they experience and what they get from their interaction with church. Lost are the days of being concerned for others and how they might find their way into community with God and other followers of Christ. The media all around us does not help in this struggle. Marketers, and scriptwriters help to focus each person on themselves. At an alarming rate there are people who live life like it really is all about them, and only them.

Even more dangerous than what happens in the church is what happens with our relationship with God. When we are 'me' focused we start to think life is about me, and should happen on the terms I set forth. This line of thinking is completely and totally out of line with the teachings of Scripture. In Mark's Gospel we find Jesus declaring, "If anyone would come after me, they must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34). The times when we fail to do this we make ourselves to be god. When we make ourselves god, we often end up growing apart from the true God.

No where in all of Scriptures do I find evidence that our relationship with God is only about us. Our faith and journey are always to go beyond the "me" zone. Denying ourselves goes against all that is within us and around us, yet that is what it takes to encounter Jesus in the deepest levels. This will mean putting aside my own hopes, dreams and desires, exchanging them for the call of God for the community of God.

No comments: