Lately I’ve been reminded yet again that those of us who follow Jesus really ought to be living lives that don’t make much sense unless there is a God. I’m a little cautious using the word ‘ought’ because I think a lot of faith has been distorted by an abuse of it, however that’s not to say there aren’t times when it ‘ought’ to be invoked!

The obvious tension here is that most of us live in suburban Australia and we share a similar experience of life to most other Aussies. We live in houses, drive cars, eat food, go on holidays etc etc… So the question that then develops is ‘what might there about our lives that only makes sense because there is a God?

I don’t think we want to be at all ostentatious in our distinctiveness, yet I fear for many of us there is very little to distinguish us from your average good living Aussie.

So where would you start if you considering how we might live lives that are genuinely distinctive because they have been shaped by the life of Christ?

9 thoughts on “Inexplicable

  1. Hey Andrew! You’ve hit on such an excellent thought.

    Just this morning I was talking to some friends about 1 Peter 3:15 (“…always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”).

    Peter assumes we’re going to have people tapping us on the shoulder and asking us for a reason for our hope. So the question is: why doesn’t that happen (more)?

    Perhaps the reason is that for the average follower of Christ, it seems as though his hope is in the same things the average pagan puts his hope in. The average Christian seems to be trusting in and aiming for the bigger house, the nicer car, good health, pleasure…etc. Those kinds of things don’t stand out as different, so we don’t get asked.

    So maybe, if when Christians suffer (the context of 1 Peter), or lose their job, as they rub shoulders with their neighbours they would get asked about their different hope.

    We do need to be different. Christians have lost their distinctiveness. That’s the heart of what it means to be holy. Again, thanks for the good thoughts.

  2. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Phil 4:5-7]

    OK, like Max said, I agree that we need to rub shoulders with our neighbours a bit more, but when we do our attitude should point to hope rather than despair. Not always easy to do when we don’t know if we’ll have the money for the bills at the end of the month.

    How do we acknowledge difficult times and not gloss over them as many Christians are prone to do – “How you doing?”… “Oh I’m fine” kinds of conversations cover up the truth about life, but we’ve also been told ‘not to worry’.

  3. I have been reading your blog for a couple months now but this is my first comment. I really enjoy your posts!

    This post got me really thinking about what makes me different as a Christian and I think hope and joy is a big part of that but I also think love is the biggest piece, the earliest Christians seemed to be known for their love of God and others, and as 1 John points out love casts out fear, so love is really at the heart of hope. When people see that we love even our enemies they know there is something different. Like Jesus says in Matt. 5 – “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?” What makes us different from the world? According to Jesus it is loving our enemies, not just our friends.



  4. Mate thats a really good question we probably need to ask ourselves frequently…certainly one that could offer up a magnitude of different responses…i know for me…as someone that took the pleasures of sin and used it to mask the emptiness of a life without the God i knew as a child… i realize now that my pursuit of God and my willingness to forgo the “pleasures” of sin for a lifestyle of holy living and of sometimes mundane repetition or the “status qou’ will eventually offer up something that hasnt been seen…nor could be thought up or could be taken away from me…that and the fact that one day im goin to see him face to face…..

  5. “those of us who follow Jesus really ought to be living lives that don’t make much sense unless there is a God.” Amen.

    I very much agree with Dan. Love is the distinctive and should be our motivation.

    It seems to me that in our circumstance (“We live in houses, drive cars, eat food, go on holidays etc etc…”), instead of asking what our hope is, that our lives should cause people to ask why. Why did you respond in love? Why did you help that hungry person? Why do you visit those in prison? Why did you pay your neighbor’s mortgage? Why did you adopt “that” kid? Why did you take into your home that old widow?

    Then we can tell them about the one who did so much more for us.


  6. Some observations I have made here in Perth. Firstly, Christians (generalization) tend to mention God when there is a pressing need or a ‘breakthough’. It is the big things that we want God’s attention on (health scares, careers, personal turmoil, God’s will for my life).

    Secondly, Christians tend to speak of God in the generic sense, ‘God’ did this, praying to ‘God’ for that. Rather than naming the God they trust in, which is Jesus. If we simply speak of God, we could be referring to the god any religion.

    Thirdly, in a prosperous, materialistic and secular culture we tend to see little need in our communities. We ought to identify and provide relief to the needs in our community. Yet on the flip side of the coin there tends to be little thankfulness for the what we have (firstly in Jesus, secondly in his gracious daily provisions). Middle class Christians want to ‘keep up with the Jones”. We reflect the culture.

    All of God’s creation is made to the glory of God and the honour of his Son Jesus. As gospel minded Christians on mission we are to live out all that we are and do to the glory of God. Therefore, simple tasks such as loading the dishwasher, vacuuming, taking the kids to school is directed to God as worship. Preparing dinner, watching a movie, playing sport ought to be offered to God in thankfulness (you get the gist). As a Christian community we ought to share these things together through the week (it is ordinary life, shared in the Christian community to the glory of God); I’m not talking of some weird commune scene, but getting together a few times a week to share these things. In this context, speaking about and to Jesus is frequent, normal and not contrived. The missional aspect is in all these things; when we welcome non-Christians (workmates, neighbours, sporting mums and dads etc) into this culture. What will they see?

  7. Pingback: Reiterate: 08.28.10 | The Ekklesia in Southern Maine

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