Monday, March 30, 2015

Multiple choice Christianity - avoiding the wrong answer

In a properly written multiple choice test question, the question must have one choice that is completely correct, and three choices that are completely incorrect, but plausible with a common mistake or misconception in thought.  You can't have choices that contradict the question asked, so if you describe a situation and ask what the effect is, a choice cannot state "no effect" unless in the question you use the following phrase, "What is the effect (if any)..."  If this is properly done, the "no effect" choice is plausible if the student wrongly assesses key information and decides that nothing needs to be done.  Did you get that?  The student WRONGLY ASSESSES readily available information and decides that the best course of action is to DO NOTHING.  Now in my world, that's OK, because there's more than just one question on an examination. In fact, on examinations written at the end of a course, sometimes there's a hundred questions, and wrong thinking on one alone will not damage the test-taker.

In the Christian life, this problem is removed.  Know why?  Because I can say that the best course of action is NEVER to do nothing.  There's always something to do, unfortunately, our choices of what to do with our free time frequently lead us to the place of no impact, of impotence in the faith.  Let me explain.

In the lives of most everyone I know, there is dreadful busyness.  There's 168 hours in a week, of which most of us sleep 50.  With the 118 hours that are left, we work 50, leaving 68.  Out of those remaining hours, we brush our teeth (at least I hope we do ), take showers, use the bathroom, eat, watch television, use social media, shop, talk, drive to restaurants, eat meals out, attend movies and concerts, cut grass, wash cars, and who knows what else?  For the religious sort, we can throw in church attendance, bible studies, potlucks, and a few other activities.

There is a problem here, and it's the priorities that we make.  If I read my New Testament correctly, the life of the Christ-follower involves the study of scripture, prayer as modeled by Christ and his disciples, fellowship with other believers, and love and care for our families.  There's others.  With the knowledge and wisdom we have gained, we then are commanded to love, serve, feed, clothe, visit, those who are "the least of these."  We are trusted to tell others about the free and life-changing love of Jesus Christ.  We show Christ's love to others in all these ways, and as a result, we change lives through His power little by little, one at a time.

That's the model we're supposed to follow.  But we don't.  We choose the "if any" option, or worse yet, we are passionate about things of far less importance.  Let me give you a few examples.

Many worry incessantly about the direction of our nation, while neglecting the power within us to help hearts change one at a time.

Many identify with a cause, a political party, or a ideology, much more frequently than they identify with Christ.

Many would rather engage a person in an argument over rights, politics, or laws than have a conversation about the One who saved their soul.

Many would clamor about the potential for their rights being violated rather than stand up and defend someone whose rights who are actually being violated.

Many try to change the moral values of those far from Christ, without taking the time to become a friend who can introduce them to Christ.

You see, these behaviors are the results of misplaced priorities, a lack of time, and a skewed direction.  No one in their right mind would claim that Jesus Christ fought for His personal rights, battled for the direction of a nation, joined forces with a political party, or eloquently debated laws with others.  No one would claim that Jesus told people to clean up their lives before they spoke with Him.  Yet, as Christ-followers, some unfortunately spend much of their time doing this. It is fruitless nonsense.

What little time we have in our weeks can be better spent.  Let me give you a few things to try.  You won't believe how much your life will change if you start serving others.

1.  Find a single mom  or a family suffering hard times and ask them how you can help this week.  Do Do they need their car washed or grass cut?

2.  Go to a store, a fast food restaurant, or a mall and find a person who is completely different from you to talk to.  Find out five things about them, then ask them if you can pray for them.  This may take all of fifteen minutes.

3.  Contact someone in your community who runs a food pantry, a shelter for abused women, or a crisis pregnancy center.  Take the necessary steps to become a volunteer.

4.  With your family, do a bible study on the actual activities that Christ and the disciples spent their time doing.  Pick one or two of these and actually do them.  WARNING:  They never watched MSNBC or Fox News and griped about politics.  SECOND WARNING:  You probably don't have the power to heal with a touch or make food magically appear.  You may want to start out with feeding the hungry.

5.  Have a conversation about the weather with someone and see if you can change the direction of the conversation to how you came to know Christ.

You see, my Christian friends, you only have a short time each day and only a few years on this earth to make a difference for Jesus Christ.  Please start today.

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