Best of Daily Reflections: Full Christianity: Doing, Thinking, and Being, Part 1
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
Is Christianity primarily a matter of doing, thinking, or being? Chances are you know the "right answer." It's "all of the above." Christianity embraces doing, thinking, and being. That's clear enough.
I agree. But, in practice, most of us tend to lean strongly in one direction or another. If you grew up in a Christian home, there's a good chance you learned to think of Christianity as a matter of doing (and not doing). Being a Christian meant going to church, obeying your parents, trying not to cuss, and sharing your faith with your friends (or, at any rate, feeling guilty when you didn’t).
Then, somewhere along the way, we discovered that Christianity had to do with thinking. We learned that theology matters, that having the right theology is vital to authentic faith. So we engaged in Bible studies. We read Christian books, listened to Bible teachers, and argued theology with our fellow believers. Doing still mattered to us, but thinking was the heart of our Christian experience.
Then, perhaps a little later in life, our hearts yearned for something more. We wanted to go deeper than just doing and just thinking. We sought to know God more experientially, to learn what it meant to be God's child, God's beloved, God's friend. We listened to teachers who emphasized the formation of our souls in addition to our behaviors and beliefs. We began to see Christianity as a matter of being, as a question of "Who am I?" in the Lord, not just what I do or what I believe.
The more I reflect upon the Scripture, the more convinced I am that authentic Christianity is essentially a matter of doing, thinking, and being. There will be seasons of life in which we emphasize one characteristic or another. But, if we grow up in Christ, we will necessarily act in new ways, think in new ways, and become a new person.
Ephesians 4:17 reminds us of the multifaceted nature of Christianity. As we'll see in the next couple of reflections, this verse reveals that our new life in Christ is, indeed, a matter of doing, thinking, and being. For now, let me encourage you to reflect on the following questions.
FOR REFLECTION: As you think about your own Christian experience, have there been seasons in your life that have been more oriented to doing? Thinking? Being? Where are you right now in your experience of faith? Why are you in this place today? Are there ways you might grow as a Christian in your doing? Thinking? Being?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for all the different ways I have experienced your grace throughout my life. Thank you for the times when my faith was mainly a matter of doing because I learned much about obedience. Thank you for the times when my faith was mainly about thinking, because I came to understand you more truly and deeply. Thank you for the times when faith was mostly about being, because I have come to know who I am to you and know what it's like simply to be with you.
Help me, dear Lord, to grow into a deeper, richer, and fuller experience of your grace as I grow in doing, thinking, and being. Amen.