I’ve been reading Altared by Claire and Eli as part of the Single Roots first community book read. I haven’t finished the book yet, but something I read yesterday struck a chord with me, and I felt it necessary to expound on it here further.
This book is unique in its presentation, as it is a blend of a personal story, Theological teaching, and a commentary on how the culture as a whole, and Church culture specifically, treats singleness. It isn’t overly brainy, but isn’t shallow either. In other words, it’s GOOD.
In their discourse, Claire and Eli confess the following:
Perhaps intellectually both of us know that we are to deny ourselves, but in the daily practice of our lives, denying ourselves easily morphs into a convenient slogan rather than a reality.
Oh, how true this is! And not just in the area of self denial, though I suspect that may be at the root of the other areas.
If we claim to be Reformed, are we living life as though we really trust God as the Sovereign King of the universe, or do we worry anxiously about tomorrow? If Christ is King, are we obeying His commands, or treating them more as suggestions?
If we claim to be Missional, are we really living our lives on mission for the sake of the gospel and the advancement of the kingdom of God? Or is that merely a cliché to make ourselves feel better as we gather together in home groups each week, merely adding another set of four walls within which to confine ourselves?
If we say we value Community, are we really being open and honest, truly authentic, with the body of Christ which God has placed around us? Or are we only vulnerable enough to be somewhat known, for the sake of our own comfort, but not enough to allow the iron-sharpening effect that gospel-centered community is really supposed to be?
Now, I know that it is an inescapable fact that we all preach a better gospel than we live. Praise be to Christ for saving us from our bodies of death (Rom. 7:24-25)! So, I absolutely do not mean this to beat any of us down or to discourage us from aiming toward living like Christ, even though we fail at times. Rather, first, to express what I feel God has laid on my heart in reading this book, and in general the past few days. Second, to point out some of the areas where I feel like anyone could benefit from taking some time to examine their heart and life, and see where the Spirit shows us we need to seek God for strength, wisdom, and opportunity to live more like Christ.
May God give us the grace to truly live like Christ, and not just apply another slogan or cliché to our lives.
Soli Deo Gloria