THINK ABOUT IT
By Laura J. Bagby
Proxy players, escapist Christianity, and fulfilling our hearts’ desires—what do these three things have in common? They are topical smatterings from several journal entries of mine that question how to live out the Christian faith in the bigger realm of life. I share with you these musings in the hopes that they will stimulate thoughts about your own personal walk with Christ.
Life by Proxy
Men might accuse women of living vicariously by watching Soap Operas, and they are often right. But men can just as easily live vicariously when they check out of reality and tune into the game of sports or video games for hours on end. These forms of entertainment are substitutes for the real thing, the real game we call life. We figure we can’t live our true roles out in the real world, so we attempt to live them out on screen—and, boy, are we addicted. Why? Because it feels true to our natures. The only thing is it’s all an illusion. It isn’t the real thing, guys and girls, I am telling you. It is temptingly deceptive because it seems to fill a void, but God has so much more for us to do.
If you want a real doozy of a game, the heart-pumping thrill of play-by-play conflicts where you can play the role as hero, get off the couch and get into the game of life!
God never intended for our lives to be lived vicariously through other players. We are the players. How do I know this? I know this because in Genesis, after God made man and woman, He told them to be fruitful and multiply and take dominion over the earth (Genesis 2:28). These are active things that take our full attention. Sorry: no proxy players here in the life of a Christian.
We don’t do the things of God by proxy (unless we are talking about intercession, and then we have the example of the centurion who believed for a healing for his master—see Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10). No friend is going to take the test for you. It is all you in the game of life. Remember when the Apostle Paul told us to run the race for the prize? We certainly aren’t on the sidelines. We are the athletes for Christ, pacing ourselves in the most thrilling marathon ever!
Why can’t we get that? Does it seem boring? Too hard? Too lonely? Well, sometimes it can be if we let ourselves think that way. And if we choose to live our lives according to worldly standards, then it seems downright pointless. Our husband or wife is never satisfied. Our bosses never recognize our potential. Our parents are telling us we are wrong. Our children never have enough. Why bother at all? The answer is because we are called to be active participants.
Hey, that ‘be fruitful and multiply’ thing is for you and me; that taking dominion stuff isn’t some pithy saying—it’s a godly principle that, done in the wisdom and authority of God, produces incredible life in our own realm and the lives of others.
I heard a pastor once present a series of sermons about Heaven, and it began to bother me that so many of those sermons spoke of wanting to leave this earth to join God in the sky. There is nothing wrong with hoping in an eternity with Christ. I can understand longing for God’s ultimate glory and seeing Him face to face and having no sickness or sorrow. Sure, who wouldn’t want that? But if that is how I am supposed to view my life on earth, what’s the good of the “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” concept, as we are taught to pray? I know Heaven is a grand place to be when it is God’s will for me to go there. But until then, I want to be useful on this earth—and, dare I say, enjoy my earthly existence as I believe God intended.
We have to be careful that we don’t fall into a brand of escapist Christianity. It’s the philosophy that this world is going to the dogs, so let’s just get out of here. We are worms on earth and life stinks, so let’s just look forward to getting away from it all. I am just going to fritter away my time until He shows up in glory or I show up at the Pearly Gates.
Hello! God wants to give us abundant life… here. I have that right now. I am saved right now. My eternal life began the day I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior. It doesn’t begin in Heaven. Being co-heirs with Christ and being seated in the heavenlies—I have that right now. The authority to cast out demons and to heal diseases—that’s right now, on-this-earth stuff.
Why would I want to escape from this life when I have the power of the Holy Spirit and an ever-present God to guide me into the purpose He has for me to fulfill? He said He would never leave me nor forsake me.
Our Hearts’ True Treasure
When seeking God for direction, some might look to inward desires to discover what to do next. But desires are deceptive. Not all of our desires are good. Not all of our motives are pure. I cannot trust my desires or my feelings to help me do the right thing. Sometimes there are cases when God specifically calls us to do the thing that we can’t imagine doing, the thing that seems least like us. That is because He wants us to rely on His wisdom, which is much different from ours.
I know that God says that if we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our hearts. I used to think that meant that God would bless me with a mansion or a new luxury car or great wealth. But God would not give us anything that would corrupt us. God is not out to spoil us; He is out to bless us. When we are spoiled, we care little for God, but when we are blessed, we know that God is our source.
That is the life that God wants, but to be blessed means I cannot have everything I want when I want it. Being blessed means I have learned the art of thankfulness. I have learned, as Paul learned, that whether in want or in plenty, I am completely satisfied because I find my true treasure in the goodness and power and riches of the Lord.
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