Seeing Change Take Place
Some Christians don’t understand where they are spiritually
and morally, because they are blinded by the seemingly
high moral and spiritual demands of the Gospels. This
seemingly impossible standard of expectation (love thy
neighbor as thyself, etc.) shows them they are sinners.
As sinners they are in need of the redemptive love of
God shown on the cross. They then may view salvation as a
gift, not earned. Then they may take the lazy way,
do nothing, thank God for His suffering for others,
but not doing any suffering of their own for others.
Their religion may then degenerate mostly to
going to church meetings, worship, and
performing hemi-semi-demi-rituals. Their spiritual
growth and moral awareness seem frozen or arrested.
Scripture says that faith without works is dead. Expanding
spiritual awareness, service to others, and Christian actions
are very vital parts of faith.
The way to grow or encourage growth is to size up
spiritually and morally what you are, or what is, being quite
honest. Then take little steps daily or regularly in
the right direction for you to go.
Slip small Christian actions out of any faith you have.
Fit actions to the music of your faith. Add actions like
words to the lyric of your feelings about Christ. Take care
that the words from your heart are not so sentimental,
gushy and vapid that they turn the stomach. Try to say things
without using threadbare clichés that have been worn out so
they have lost effect on the hearers. People have often
become immune to religious terms through overuse.
Above all, pray your way forward. Use praying, studying,
and creative thinking (in the bounds of faith) to put down
imagined tracks for that real engine which is your energy to
utilize later. By prayer and discussion in groups, lay
plans for action.
First have an idea, then a vision, then you need a
plan. In this plan lay down tracks and plans for good
energies to take. But remember as actualities take place,
plans grow, adapt and change in Christ. Adjust Christ
to the circumstances and the reality of things.
Remember feeling and doing must march in cadence, left
foot, right foot. No feeling in morality and no emotional
satisfaction in work, make the march to God like a group of
killer ants marching across jungles, creating desolation
where ever they go. There is little worse than mean morality
without a touch of pity. There is little worse than emotionally
unsatisfying work that drains us dry.
We need joy in developing a morality that will help others.
For without our morality, how can others live decent lives?
Nor should we forget the enjoyment of this world and God.
God did not put us here only to work and moralize. How drab
such a religious outlook would be! God has put us here to
share the enjoyment of life and the good things of creation.
Satisfying work must have joy in it. In all we do, there Christ
should be! If there is not any love in it, we should ask
ourselves why we are doing it? If there is no loving protection
of others in our morality, why develop it? Morality is not
hateful. It is a service of protection, love and security we
give others from imposing spiritual order upon ourselves.
Remember little things well done, steps taken in the
right direction, help us see ourselves spiritually growing.
We get a sense of accomplishment. We feel ourselves changing
as we grow. We may not experience a completely transformed life,
as few do, but we have a warmer life. One with more grace. For
I am well convinced grace acted upon brings down more grace.
Little acts of grace prime the pumps of Heaven for bigger
Wesley said of his awareness of Christ at a meeting, that his
heart was strangely warmed. "As we do little bits and pieces, we
know how we are not perfect, nor ever will be on earth, but
we are, nevertheless, being pulled upwards in grace by the magnet
that is God’s love drawing us towards Him. We are aware our
hearts through small Christians actions done have been ‘strangely'
warmed.” We see how we are changing as we bring to the dark
aspects of life the comforts of Christ. We live the Gospel
by doing the little acts of love and kindness that we can.
Therefore under the spirit of Christ make your own
unique life of Christ response to the circumstances around
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.