Ongs in Malawi

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Going through the motions

Posted on November 9, 2009 at 4:35 AM

I've been challenged lately during my Mums Bible Study group, about the concept of 'going through the motions' as a Christian. I can totally relate with that, having 'gone through the motions' myself. I remember my 'Christian high' days of doing lots and appearing on the surface to be godly, but on the inside, I was lacking in a daily personal relationship with my Saviour. People see the outside, but God sees what's inside.

 

I've always believed that missionaries are just ordinary Christians who are willing to work overseas, willing to sacrifice home comforts in order to serve God. Missionaries are just Christians, like me and you, who is open to God leading them to serve anywhere.

 

Some people put missionaries on a pedestal, like they are super Christians. Likewise with pastors. Maybe it's because I've grown up as a pastor's kid that I know that pastors are just ordinary people at home. They are people with the same struggles.

 

I don't want to go on a pedestal. When we become missionaries, I want people to realise that I am still the same old Jo. I will not grow a halo the day I step on the plane headed for Africa. I will still struggle with things I struggle with now, and I will still have my ups and downs.

 

I don't want to go on a pedestal, because then everybody is watching when you slip and fall. They expect you to stand tall and firm, incapable of falling. But on this side of heaven, we are all sinners and all capable of falling.

 

How often we see people who can 'act' and make all the right moves as Christians, but yet lacking the 'real stuff' on the inside? Being a missionary or a pastor or a Bible college student doesn't make you any more 'godly' than the humble church goer who dutifully sweeps the church steps every sunday. Being a missionary, or a pastor, or a Bible College student is just a CHOICE that we make with our fallen human minds. Anybody can decide with their minds to do these things. But it is much harder to actually have a genuine heart that seeks to please God.

 

I think what matters is not so much that you appear to have it all together on the outside, to be 'perfect' - because no one is until the day of Jesus' return, but that you show and have a genuine desire to walk with God and live by his grace each day. As Christians, it's not that we don't fall, but that when we fall, we can be sure that God is there to catch us.

 

I recently saw a poster outside a church that I thought was really clever, it read: "Don't let Christians put you off Jesus."

 

Only by looking to Jesus can you really know him, if you look to people, they will inevitably fall and let you down.

 

I hope when we serve in Africa in a few years time, I can help people see Jesus clearly. That I won't just go through the motions of being a missionary. That people will see that I am a fallen being living by God's grace and strength each day. That I am just like them. That my God is what carries me through my struggles, not me.

 

~Jo

Categories: Thoughts, 2009

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