Sometimes I think knowing stuff is overrated. For instance, I know the statistics that compare Christians to non-Christians are remarkably similar. The divorce rate among people claiming Christianity as their system of belief is the same (and in some places worse) than people who don’t claim to be Christians at all. The amount of adultery committed by church-goers is on par with non-church-goers. In spite of our politics and preaching a large percentage of ‘Bible-believing’ people set aside the Scriptures related to sexuality in order to do what they want, when they want, with whomever they want. You’re financial security, statistically speaking, doesn’t seem to be related to your faith at all. Physically, people of faith aren’t any healthier than people who claim no faith or a faith in something other than Jesus. I guess you could say that compared to everyone else Christians are simply, average.
As Christians we are quick to spout our clichés about the power of prayer. Our prayer requests are filled with a litany of physical needs, from Aunt Gertty’s toe fungus to Cousin Tim’s life threatening illness. Often our corporate prayer times resemble an organ recital; bless that heart, or his liver, heal his wound, etc…yet, when was the last time you prayed for someone with an amputated limb and that limb actually grew back? Have you ever prayed for someone with male pattern baldness and that person suddenly grow hair? Or someone with pour eyesight and suddenly they can see? Can you pray down a person’s cholesterol or pray up their insulin level? When it comes to our physical health I often wonder how much healing is the result of the direct power of God in our lives and how much is purely coincidental. Can you see the contradiction and the confusion the way we talk about prayer can cause? When cancer goes into remission it’s the power of prayer and God in our lives, while the ruptured discs in my back are the thorn in my flesh I’m just supposed to live with!? How reasonable is it that God readily heals the one but asks you to live with the other? How convenient is it for Believers that when God heals someone it always seems to be for an ailment we don’t fully understand and never for something easily tested or proven – like in the example of amputation.
Don’t mistake these questions as a lack of faith on my part. They’re not. But I believe they are legitimate questions non-Christians ask all the time. Shouldn’t the lives of Believers in Jesus Christ be radically different from non-Believers? I’m not just talking about church attendance, tithing, or doing things that make you feel good about yourself and your community. When the world stops to take measure of our lives shouldn’t they discover that we’re better at marriage than they are? Shouldn’t they see a people content with what they have and managing their resources in such a way that those resources don’t define who they are and how they act? I’m talking about money here. Shouldn’t the world look at Christians and wonder why, regardless of how little or how much we have, we always seem to have enough and the enough we have is treated as a tool rather than a treasure? If prayer really works shouldn’t Christians be at least marginally healthier than non-Christians? When lost people look at us shouldn’t they be flabbergasted, not by our moral superiority, but by our genuine care for them in spite of our differences and the simple fact that we’ve got our stuff together? Shouldn’t there be some measurable evidence that living life God’s way makes for better living?
It’s a Scriptural thought we don’t really consider very often. The Bible teaches that those who are genuinely saved will overcome to the end. What does that mean? It means that from the point of our salvation to the point of our death our lives will gradually come to resemble more closely God’s way and not our own. It means that over time we should step out of the average statistics that make us resemble everyone else and step into the above average and exceptional way of living that God has prepared for those who are called according to His purpose. I believe most church-goers today have surrendered to the notion that they are sinners unable to achieve the standard God has set for them. I believe we’ve taken a ‘why bother’ approach to our own spiritual growth. Don’t believe me? Check the stats yourself.
So here’s my question and the thought for the week. Are you overcoming to the end or are you just another average statistic? If you’re a true Believer in Jesus Christ you’re not average anymore.
Love y’all, God Bless,