If you are a Christian, would you say you are living a life of clear purpose, freedom, joy, and love? The Bible promises spiritual power in Christ Jesus to overcome the stranglehold of self-defeating and selfish behavior in our lives and to transform us into new and better versions of ourselves. Have you experienced it?
Many of us might answer, hesitantly, “Sort of…maybe…I think?”
I heard an excellent illustration the other day, by Tony Evans, to help us understand the difference between a static and powerless Christian life and one that is characterized by growth, power and purpose. It’s like the difference between auditing a class and taking it for credit.
My recent graduate studies reminded me that there is more to learning than listening to a lecture for a couple of hours a week. I have a drawer full of informative, interesting, even brilliant, lecture notes. It’s good stuff and I know where to find it if I need it, but most of it never took up residence in my mental files. Permanent comprehension happened as I connected what I heard from my professors with the information I read in the (multiple) assigned books and then processed it all into a paper or a project. If I had just audited the lectures, I would have learned something, yes, but I absorbed far more by doing the homework.
Please don’t misinterpret the phrase “live for credit” to suggest that we must earn God’s approval or our salvation by spiritual effort. We are saved and declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. He loves us and offers salvation by faith alone. Period. However, once accepted into the school of Christian life, we have the opportunity to change, to learn, to be transformed from the inside out. We can receive “credit” in the form of a fulfilled life on this earth in anticipation of eternal life in heaven. In my own life, God is replacing anxiety with peace, fear with faith, self-indulgence with self-control, aimlessness with purpose, and insecurity with confidence. It is a lifetime process, but I have experienced real change.
I suggest that in order to fully experience the power and possibilities of the Christian life, we must do more than attend a church service for an hour on Sunday morning, the equivalent of auditing Christianity. A life of spiritual power and transformation requires the investment of time in God’s Word, in prayer, in service, and other spiritual disciplines. In other words, it demands a little homework.
What do you think? Do you agree that spiritual transformation requires a little homework? I am interested in your thoughts and experiences.