Why on Earth, during His mortal ministry, did Jesus Christ make the decision to teach us eternally unchanging truths in the form of archetypal stories? Why all the parables and poetry? Why all the signs and symbology? Why all the imagery and impresa? Why all the totems and types? Why all the emblems and ensigns when clear cut and clean language such as “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is so powerfully poignant and deftly digested?
The answer is likely a lesson in itself. Another teaching. Another commandment. A sort of secret curriculum saved for the most faithful among His disciples.
Or, it could be, that we just need to pay better attention to our faith and religion. Yeah, that’s probably it.
If the gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to be for everyone then shouldn’t every aspect of the thing be so easy and simple to understand that even new converts can open the scriptures, take a quick gander, and say within themselves “Yes! I knew it! This is black and white, crystal clear! I know exactly how to be the best Christian in the world. Here we go, it’s time to go Christian now!”?
(I know I just used the word “Christian” as a verb…try it sometime.)
But that’s not exactly what it is, is it? It isn’t easy to understand the Christian faith sometimes. We Christians need help from on high and, no, sadly, He didn’t only use simple and direct words to teach His gospel and give his commandments. So where does that then leave Christians?
It leaves them with a duty and responsibility to be intentional disciples.
It was never enough to simply go to church every other Sunday and say a prayer every once in a while when we needed help in school or during a particularly demanding moment at work. On-demand religion isn’t Christianity, but desperation dressed in holy looking robes. Intentionality on our part has not only always been a requirement of our faith, but is absolutely necessary in order to begin to more fully understand all the teachings, attitudes, and crucial nuances circling Christianity and how it effects our daily lives. Intentionality was always supposed to be our way. After all, what was Christ if not perfectly intentional?
If you are Christian then I’m pleased to inform you that you have a life full of study and contemplation ahead of you if you wish to not only maximize your understanding of your faith, but to meaningfully incorporate it into every aspect of your life. If you want your Christianity to help define you then yours is a laborious path fraught with such terrifying prospects as scripture study, personal prayer, the study of symbols, commentaries, ongoing personal revelations, open discussion, and quiet pondering & meditation. In other words, to be a fine Christian you are always going to be working on yourself and your understanding of your faith WITH INTENTIONALITY.
Thankfully, the more effort you put into understanding your religion the more clearly you can see the life you want to lead. It’s one thing to know that you shouldn’t steal, but it’s quite another thing to recognize the harm and pain that violating those eternal laws can cause individuals and families, sometimes even to destruction. It’s one thing to know you should love thy neighbor, but another to love all those folks (some of whom are Christians like yourself and some of whom are not, who cares?) who voted for the other presidential nominee in 2016. How can you possibly love a Trump or Hillary supporter when, you know…Russia and e-mails and stuff?!
So here’s your call to action this fine Sunday afternoon; be the most intentional Christian you know. Open the scriptures more and actually FEAST upon the words of Christ. Repent of your sins everyday, not by a memorized prayer, but with a broken heart and contrite spirit, with real and feeling emotion. Pray with sincerity of heart, not by rote but by all the present intention you can muster…PLEAD with your Father. Be grateful. Love more than you’ve ever loved before. even your enemies.
By being intentional Christians we not only walk with Him, but we are fulfilled in Him..and the world may see our fulfillment as a testimony to the mission of Jesus Christ…which very thing is, perhaps, the most Christian thing we can possibly share.