What holds you back from serving Christ the way you want to, from serving Him the way you know you should? Life has a way of throwing multiple obstacles in our path as we endeavor to live like Jesus. I would say satan throws these obstacles into our path, but I believe many of the obstacles are of our own creation. I previously wrote about the dangers of allowing ourselves to become too busy. Satan does not make us too busy – we do. Some of the things we fill our life with might indeed come from a subtle, evil place, but it is we who choose to indulge in such activity. I think it is important that we take full responsibility for not leading the life Christ instructs us to live.
For me, the things that hold me back can be broken down into three universal categories: time, money and selfishness. The encouraging part about this is that we can easily improve in each of these areas; there is no magic or rocket science required. Time and money are forever intertwined; we have to work to earn money to live, and that work takes time. As I have lamented in previous posts, I give away the best ten hours of my day to a job that does nothing to further the kingdom of God. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 36% of their waking hours on the job (http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090621/BUSINESS/906210317/1003/BUSINESS). It makes me realize how much better the New Testament model of the Church was, where everyone came together and shared their possessions for the good of the community. In our modern age, there is little community and even less pooling of resources. Instead, each of us soldier on alone; some earn more, some earn less, but all earn for self. While we give – sometimes even generously – to various ministries around the world, we miss the point and joy of communal living. Pooling our resources would mean more time for everyone to be doing Kingdom work. I think what Shane Claiborne is doing with the “Simple Way” community in Philadelphia is amazing (http://www.thesimpleway.org/index2.html). We would do well to follow suit.
If work is holding you back from fully serving Christ, perhaps it’s time to find another job. I know this is not the best economic climate to be seeking employment, but perhaps you at least need to try. We cling to our jobs and our paychecks as if they are the most important thing in the world. I don’t know about your Bible, but mine calls that idolatry. How many of us are guilty of making an idol out of our job? If work is interfering with you being able to serve God effectively and fully, then the job needs to go; you need to find a way to make money that is more conducive to fulfilling your call to serve Christ. That call is simple: love God to the very depths of your soul, and love your neighbors (that’s everyone who’s not you!) in the same way.
Help those in need; care for the single mom’s in your community – they are the widows of our generation and they need someone to come along side of them with the love of Christ. Care for the outcasts in our society, for they are the orphans of our time; they are alone, homeless and desperate for love. James (Jesus’ brother) told us that doing these things is what true religion looks like (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=66&chapter=1&verse=27&version=77&context=verse). What’s holding you back from loving others in this way? What holds you back from giving your entire life to the service of Jesus? How have we gotten so off mission in our modern culture? We claim to be followers of Christ, but our lives look nothing like His. Determine what holds you back and eradicate it from your life. Whatever it is, cut it out, stop doing it immediately. Replace that time with time spent in prayer, study and loving others. This is the key to happiness; this is the life Christ calls us to live.