Your Christian Walk: a habit a hobby or a lifestyle

My boss has Celiac disease, which causes a serious allergic reaction to gluten. The body reacts in such a way that it rejects the ingestion of this protein with an angry vengeance. The thing is gluten is such an intricate part of the American diet he often struggles when eating out, which, is more often than not because he travels a lot as part of his job. His dietary lifestyle is so drastically different from the rest of the team we center our team lunches and outings around where he can get a decent gluten-free meal. I often think of what a pain this must be. I mean, he can’t have too many spontaneous food outings or even enjoy a good old fashioned potluck.

I think about how set apart his lifestyle is. I’m reminded that as Christians we are called to be set apart as well. (I Pet. 2:9) We are chosen by God, set aside for his purpose. Yes, we are called to be different. Our lives do not represent the status quo. But too often they do. Too often our Christians walk is not a reflection of what we say we believe. We ascribe to Christian ideals—goodness and kindness and such but our lifestyle plays out in a manner that is flexible and changeable depending on what is going on around us.

 

Is your Christian Walk more of a hobby?

My husband and I like to bike ride. We hit the trails with our mountain bikes when we can but not nearly often enough. In fact although we’ve had the bikes for a couple of years they still have a beautiful glossy finish which gleams as we ride. But we don’t sweat it too much. We’ll ride when we get to it. Those bikes have a cozy spot in the garage.

When our Christian walk is more of a hobby we practice it when we get to it. If we are plunged into a midst of a crisis he suddenly hears our fervent and desperate prayers. Or, there we are at church walking with heads up clutching our bibles while averting the stares of parishioners that give us that “what are you doing here?” stare. And our Bibles are certainly accessible if we need to reference them. But we hardly ever do. After all, they are the same old stories we heard as a kid. Besides, the good Word we hear on the Sundays we visit church is usually enough. No one would mistaken us for anything but a Christian—that’s pretty darn certain. Right?

Is your Christian Walk more of a habit?

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Good habits provide structure and expectation. They make us more predictable and create a definable cadence to our lives. We love to say that we have good habits. Habits may be based on some strong belief system or simply the way we’ve always done things. Going to church may be a habit. It’s a good idea to hear a good, inspiring message to get us through the week. When our Christian walk is a habit we “do” Christian things more often than not and no one would mistake us for anything more than a Christian—and that’s almost a solid fact.

Is your Christian Walk a Lifestyle?

The Bible says that if you are a part of Christ you are a new creature. The old you is gone and there’s a new you. A lifestyle change is broad and far-reaching. You take great means to protect it and nurture it because it is your life.

When your walk is your lifestyle your relationship with Christ becomes more intimate. It is one that is personal and necessary as you seek to please and honor the one that has given life to you. You sacrifice and give up things that were once dear to you but are no longer, because they are an offence to the one with whom you share this relationship.

You shy away from relationships that dishonor Christ. Your lifestyle is changing not in one area but in all.

My boss’s kitchen is quite different from mine—filled with rice and oat flours, Xanthan gum and such. He makes no apologies for the great pangs he takes in selecting restaurants. He never complains. It is his way of life. He protects his health. He doesn’t risk it to appease our group or anyone else because in the end he is the one that would suffer.

A Christian lifestyle is not always convenient for the ones around us. Some may be offended by the way we live. They may find it tediously annoying to witness the careful way we choose to always honor something or someone we cannot see but claim to know.

Are our lives perfectly coiffed? Absolutely not. But as we walk daily he guides us.

With this lifestyle we are more prepared for the obstacles that will surely come our way. Prayer is not awkward monologue as we reach out to a strange, distant bigger than life force. It is dialogue between us and our Creator—it is private, personal and comforting because we know that he hears us. When tempest threaten our peace of mind we may not know what to do but we certainly have access to the One who does. When it is a lifestyle our mental breakdowns lessen. This is not to say that fear won’t creep in but our path is straight and our steps are assured.

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