Or…does it change why and how we do it? Does following Jesus change the “Christian segment” of our life or…could it change EVERYTHING?
The Twentieth Century Theologian and Author, C. S. Lewis, once observed that believing in Jesus Christ did not change what we do, but how and why we do it. Lewis wrote, “Before I became a Christian, I did not fully realize that one’s life, after conversion, would inevitably consist of doing most of the same things one had been doing before, but, one hopes, in a new spirit, but still the same things.” Many Christians think that once we say “yes” to Jesus Christ, that Jesus becomes a part of our life…and hopefully the most important part. As the first diagram below illustrates, our Christian life is one aspect of our life, along with family, social and career. And that is the rub. That life is still is our life. In this diagram, when we pray, worship and serve at a homeless shelter, we are in the Christian segment of our life. But this is not authentic discipleship. This is shallow, surface Christianity!
When Jesus Christ calls us to “Follow me,” his intention is that God will permeate every area of our life. Jesus is calling us to be his disciples…and more than disciples. He is calling us to be apostles who are sent out to be his witnesses in the world and accomplish God’s purposes. If we are serious about following Jesus, then we will allow God into every area of our life. In fact, we will realize that our life belongs to God! It is not our life anymore! God is the hub of the wheel of our life and every spoke is impacted by God’s presence and influence. This is illustrated in the lower diagram. The good news of the gospel is that everything we do matters to God. God does not want to be our top priority. God wants to be our life. This is what Brother Lawrence meant when he said, “I am serving God as much when I work in the monastery kitchen as when I am dispensing the Holy Sacrament!” In the lower diagram, notice that all of life is our Christian life. The way we drive the car, do our daily chores, interact with strangers and friends, engage in our social life, serve as a citizen of our community and do our jobs is as much a part of our “Christian Life” as going to worship on Easter or serving the poor.
Somehow we have forgotten that the secular is the arena of the sacred. Jesus did not draw a double white line down the highway of life and intend that we only serve God when we are doing something that seems “spiritual” or “religious.” Lewis is quite right. Following Jesus Christ does not change what we do, but why and how we do it! Consider applying C.S. Lewis’ words to your life this week…but watch out…applying these words from Lewis to our lives…might just change them… forever!