How do you explain the process of living out your faith? I was reading Oswald Chambers’ devotional guide, My Utmost For His Highest, recently and he wrote, “Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause.”
That, no doubt, is what explains Paul’s radical lifestyle.
There are a handful of us who can be very fanatically committed to an ideology. This is especially true when we are young. It seems youthfulness often produces an ideological zeal for all sorts of causes, worthy and misguided alike. However, as we grow older, it seems other things begin to take precedent in our lives. Before you feel too guilty about this or make some kind of somber vow that this will never happen to you, consider what things generally take precedent – family and friends; in other words, relationships.
Let me say again – Don’t be depressed about this and feel like you are selling out to commercialism, consumerism or a lifestyle of self-gratification. (Unless, of course, you are; in which case, stop it and do something significant with your life up until you draw your last breath.) Here’s what’s really cool about this – our passion doesn’t really have to change, it just becomes grounded in something (a relationship) that is much more sustainable than a cold, sterile ideology. Think about it this way – Is it easier to give to the poor, like both the Old & New Testaments tell us to do, because we have been instructed to and we want to fight for social justice, or because we actually know a poverty stricken person and we are concerned for them because they are our friend?
That’s what Paul meant when he said, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV). What he meant was, “I am devoted to a person, not a cause.”