Two New Lists

Getting Rid of BAD Discipleship Paradigms

Some who follow Christ make two lists:
“The DO List” and “The DON”T DO List.”
I’ve lived this form of Christianity in the past, but now I’m determining to snuff it out once and for all!

When you live your Christian life with these two lists, your endeavors are entirely obsessed with trying to decipher what is in what list.
“Can I do this?” “Can I do that?”
“Is this a ‘no no’?” “How about that?”

And, oftentimes, this form of Christianity becomes:
“YOU had better not do that.” Even when “that” is not necessarily an absolute sin listed in the Bible. If I have determined that my “DON’T DO List” is a good one, I want to thrust it on everybody else.

And, in my experience, this form of Christianity becomes:
“I feel guilty all the time.” It is the Christianity of “sin management"--constantly scrambling to keep ourselves from doing what is in that “DON’T DO List.”

I’ve determined to no longer live this way. But it would not do to just become one of those “I’ll do whatever I want” Christians. That is even more harmful.

So here’s my TWO NEW LISTS:
The “These are CONSTRUCTIVE List,”
and the “These are DESTRUCTIVE List.”

With these two lists, I can focus on doing the things that are constructive to my Christian walk—especially in the categories of worshipping God, loving and serving people, and engaging and changing the culture.
I can also identify (and confess to God) the things that are destructive to my calling to follow Jesus. I can repent of these and then move on to the more pressing matters of living a constructive life. (I will no longer obsess over the "DON'T DO List". I will instead focus on the CONSTRUCTIVE List).

Yea, I choose to replace the old negative-focused lists with the new positive-focused lists.


Sivin Kit said...

thanks for the "refined" or "reframed" lists ... I found them to be helpful. :-) especially during this LENT season.

Anonymous said...

Does it really matter what WE do... or don't do?

I tend to think that all that matters is what Father and Son did on that cross.

It's the revelation of that work that will set us free from our attempts at self-righteousness. It's our understanding of that finished work that will lead to salvation... not what we do or don't do.

It's not about us. It's about Him.

At least, that's the way I see it. Maybe I'm wrong.

Bob Robinson said...

Yes, the Christian life is focused on all what God has accomplished on the cross. I must bring into my life the freedom that Christ offers through my deepening faith in Christ. But that does not rule out obedience on my part.

When Jesus tells me to “love my enemies,” I must not turn around and say to Jesus, “You love my enemies; I’m just saved by my faith in the cross.”

When Paul tells me to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” I must not turn around and say, “I don’t have to work; God does it all.”

When John tells me, “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another,” I must not turn around and say, “Well, I can’t do that, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”

What I’m getting at is this: God’s salvation is more than receiving forgiveness because of what Jesus did on the cross. Salvation is not just about where I’m going at the end of my earthly life (heaven or hell). Salvation is about freedom and power and purpose in this life (and, of course, in the life to come). Redemption empowers us to live out the freedom from sin that we were intended to live. It’s about crossing over into the Kingdom of God, where we can actually try to obey and succeed more often than we fail (because of the power of God in us is making us what we are supposed to be).

My previous lists focused on the negatives: The Christian life as a set of “Don’t Do’s” (that if you do, you feel condemned) and a set of “DO’s” (that if you fail to do, you again feel condemned).

The new lists recognize that there are things that I do that are in fact destructive (there are plenty of these destructive things listed throughout the New Testament), but the focus is on that which is constructive (as Jesus told us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”)

I am coming to the conclusion that faith (trust, really believing) is not faith unless it is lived out. When I obey, it is not out of obligation, it is out of trust. When I obey, I am in fact saying to Jesus, "I trust that your way of living is more satisfying, more constructive, more powerful, more meaningful than my way of living...I am trusting you. I have faith in my Lord and what he has commanded me to do."