In many quarters of the Church, the contemporary understanding is that Christianity is lived in the passive voice. 47 waitingWikipedia says: “the passive voice denotes the recipient of the action (the patient) rather than the performer (the agent).”

The assumption is that the Christ-follower empties herself of all ambition and self-determination and simply waits, patiently, for God to move gloriously upon her life.

Problem is, it’s not biblical. It’s Buddhism.

Paul said: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…” [Phil 3:12-14 NIV]47 agonize

How much ‘straining’ and ‘pressing on’ do you see in the Church today?

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door...” [Lk 13:24 NIV] In the Greek “make every effort” is agonizomai.  Sounds a lot like “agonize” doesn’t it?

Consider Mt 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven has been taken by storm and eager men are forcing their way into it.” [Philips New Testament]

Are these texts familiar to you?

The assumption that Christianity is lived in passive reflection—and our preoccupation with what we’re against—may have contributed mightily to the historic decline in Christian adherence in the West.

Especially among those under 35.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. 47 djangoThe credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who … if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

How well Terry Roosevelt’s words describe the noble and rigorous Christian life!

Around the US, pastors are breaking out of the “please-the-parishioner” mold, and are leading members into their cities, daring valiantly to minister regularly and unconditionally to those outside. Though they make mistakes, the sincerity of their motive procures a response of surprise and gratitude from those outside… and eventually, an openness to the claims of Christ.

And, in their churches some oppose and criticize, hoping to undermine these risky and selfless ministry endeavors.

Cold and timid souls.

 

Coaching distinctions #47.doc