Can I tell you there is a tendency to look at our Americanized version of faith and believe that this is what Jesus desired for us? The closer I look, the deeper I dig inside my heart and inside His Word, the less I believe that to be true. Over twenty years in ministry, I have wrestled with these ideas of faith and following and discipleship. I've learned that it has less to do with what music you worship with, what pastor you listen to, what church you are a member of and what Bible study you attend. I'm finding out that faith that costs you nothing is really not faith at all.
When we complain about pastors that preach too long or churches that ask too much, I wonder if we really get what Jesus asked of us. I cringe when I see people who profess faith acting in a certain way or talking about certain things that shouldn't be a part of their life.
Here's where I am now. Salvation is not about a prayer or some mystical formula that happens at the end of a service or camp or retreat. It's more than just acknowledging that God is God or that He is real. (even the "bad guys" get this question right--James 2:19--and eventually everyone else will as well--Philippians 2:10) It is surrendering every desire, every need, every thought and every emotion to His loving direction. It is changing who I am in light of what He desires for me. I can't just pray a prayer and then choose to life on my terms.
Here is where being an American and being a Christian can be confusing. As Americans, we pride ourselves on our rights; we talk and write about them every where we turn. But, as a Christ follower, I give up my rights. They are no longer mine but His. I voluntarily enslave myself to His Lordship, His Authority and His power.
I'm just starting to scrape the top of the iceberg on this. I don't know what it means for me, for my family or my church. I simply know that the end of this journey, if it's properly followed to His conclusion, will bring me closer to the person of Jesus. In the end, that's where I desire to be.