Unlearning bad habits
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to live a life where God is free to show up in and through me more than I currently let Him.
As a follower of Jesus, I know and believe that telling others about Him is deeply important. I’ve also grown up in church, though, and whilst I’m so grateful for so much that I've learned during this time – “doing evangelism” – is something I’m constantly trying to unlearn.
Instead of seeing Jesus and His beautiful kingdom as part of my whole life, it taught me to see ‘evangelism’ as a compartment in my life that I do, sometimes, maybe on mission weeks or when a ‘God’ conversation comes up and I'm feeling particularly courageous.
The more I discover of Jesus, however, the more I’m realising He didn’t talk about it like that. Sure, 'preaching the kingdom' involved risk, stepping out, speaking up, showing up – but it seemed to be something that flowed out of a life abandoned to Him rather than a compartment in our lives.
Jesus uses the images of salt and light, which I find really helpful.
Salt is supposed to have an affect on the world around it – if it doesn’t because it’s lost its ‘saltiness’ – then it’s good for nothing. And light is indistinguishable – it can’t help but shine, like a city on a hill or a lamp in a room it’s supposed to influence the space in which it is set – it can’t help it. That is unless you put it under a basket but who would do such an absurd thing? Mmmm… …well we do!
So, there are two things I've consciously decided to do as I reflect on what it means to be salt and light. I want to invite you to do the same.
#1. Get salty – if I’m not salty I’m not any use and I’m having no kingdom impact, so I need to be salty. How do I get salty? My best thought is being close to Jesus ought to do it and while I’m at it I’m going to ask for more of the Holy Spirit flowing through me. #2. Chuck out the basket – I’m going to, with the help of the Spirit, chuck out the basket, or probably more accurately 'baskets', that I keep putting over the life of Christ in me – the times I close my mouth when something bubbles up about Him, the times I stop a conversation short for fear of offending, or the times I don’t ask a bold question to not let it get awkward, or the moments I avoid praying for someone because I don’t want to be rejected. Those baskets kill mission, they suffocate the life and power of the Spirit flowing through me towards others.
I reckon if we start there, it could be interesting what Jesus begins to do in and through us ordinary folk.