Being an Authentic Christian
According to author Bill Hybels; “Authentic Christianity is not learning a set of doctrines and then stepping in cadence with people all marching the same way. It is not simply humanitarian service to the less fortunate. It is a walk – a supernatural walk with a living, dynamic, communicating God. Thus the heart and soul of the Christian life is learning to hear God’s voice and developing the courage to do what he tells us to do (Too Busy Not To Pray, 2nd ed. p. 125).”
Hearing his explanation emphasizes just how much Christians are missing out on because of their busyness. We become too busy because we are too closely caught up with our society’s agenda, objectives, and activities, to the neglect of our walk with God (p 126). We were created to have a relationship with God. Not a one sided relationship, but one that is filled with communication, intimacy, joy, contemplation, and a myriad of interactions. Our fast paced, hectic lifestyles work in direct conflict with us being able to experience that which we were created for. If we are going to experience an authentic relationship with Jesus, we must slow down. This of course is easier said than done. For all our lives it has been ingrained in us that people of value and significance are those people who accomplish many things. So we enslave ourselves to a lifestyle that is always trying to do something more, fit another meeting in, or achieve another goal on our never ending lists. We become accustomed to this, and to live any other way feels wrong. That is why we need to develop disciplines and habits that force us to slow down. To stop, think, contemplate and put ourselves in a position to hear God’s voice speak to us, in our minds and our hearts. Each person is different, and thus will need different exercises or habits that will help them to slow down. Bill Hybels offers us a two-step process for slowing down.
- Take time to journal. For him this meant sitting down and writing out a one page summary of the previous day’s events.
- Write out your prayer to God. This can be done in various ways from keeping a list of what you are praying for…to actually writing a letter to God, expressing your thoughts and concerns.
This two-step process forces us to take time to contemplate about our lives and to think though and see what we our communicating to God. The very act of doing this helps us to slow down. Once we have changed the pace of our lives and turned down the noise of interference, we are in a much better place to hear from God–to be led by thoughts, desires, tugs on our heart etc…This then leads to the type of interaction with God that I believe we most long for. A relationship where we are aware of God’s presence and can see how much God is alive in and around us. It will require some lifestyle changes. Changes that might make us feel uncomfortable. But developing habits that force us to slow down is so very worth it.
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