Saved Part 2
In my last post on this subject, we talked about salvation as a life. Not just a “life preserver” type of salvation. Salvation is something to be entered into, not just talked about. I agree that a prayer of true repentance is important, but that is not the end game. It’s not just a recognition that Jesus died and rose; but that because he died and rose it becomes clear that he is the King, to be feared, loved, and reverenced. His teachings take on true meaning in light of him rising from the dead. To repent is to choose a new way of life, and to enter into it fully.
Jesus says in John 8:34-36;
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
We can be sure that what Christ did for us guarantees our entrance into the new family of God. It also secures our eternity. But a tree is really known by its fruit.
What kind of fruit does an apple tree produce? What kind of fruit does an almond tree produce (yes they come from trees)? Well, what do we call the trees? A tree is known by its fruit.
So what kind of fruit does a reborn man/woman produce? We might describe this person as a “different kind”. Almost like a different kind of tree.
I remember a time in high school where Christians would gather around the flag pole to pray for America once a year. Most of the people there were surprised to see me present. One friend asked, “You’re a Christian?”.
Dallas Willard explains our dilemma better than I ever could.
“The Gospel stories tell us how hard Jesus and his friends tried to avoid crowds and how badly they failed. Quite candidly, if it is possible for
our faith and works to be hidden, perhaps that only shows they are of a kind that should be hidden. We might, in that case, think about directing our efforts toward the cultivation of a faith that is impossible to hide” -Dallas Willard “Spirit of the Disciplines”
Fruit is obvious. Fruit is useful. Fruit contains seeds that then end up producing, even more, fruit.
So how do we get the good stuff? How is it that we create good fruit. We must choose, on a daily basis, to enter into the same life Jesus did. If we watch him closely in the gospels, he was constantly getting alone with God. This is our first and most important step. Silence and solitude with God and then adding to that all the other spiritual disciplines that are the ‘roots’ of discipleship. Like; Prayer, study, fasting, secrecy, submission, service, celebration, worship etc. None listed in order of importance but all produce fruit when practiced.
Think of it this way…I hate running. Running is silly. I weigh almost 200lbs at 5 foot 10in. According to the regular metrics at a doctor, this is drastically overweight. You wouldn’t look at me and think “that guy’s out of shape”. I work out 5-6 days a week regularly. But I still have to carry that extra mass around. Unfortunately for me, running is by far the most effective way to train my cardiovascular system.
Now, I have never run to get good at running. I run in order to increase my work capacity for the workouts and the life I enjoy. I don’t run to run. So running, an indirect action, directly affects many of my other actions. I run because it makes me generally more healthy, I run because I want to have a good cardio system, more energy etc. So running produces an effect in my daily life that we can call “fruit”.
Solitude and silence are not practiced to get good at solitude and silence. That would be silly and
antithetical to the great commission to GO and make disciples. I practice these two things so that when I am with a group of people, and I feel pressure to perform religiously, sinfully, or in just plain stupidity, I have already practiced what it’s like to be alone with God. To be alone with Him is already enough for me. So the pressure dissipates to ‘act like everyone else’ in the present situation.
Silence I practice, so that when the time comes in a conversation that it is better to remain silent, I can. Or we can actually consult the Holy Spirit mid-conversation, we’ll find we have the presence of mind and spirit to do so.
So in order to start entering into this life, choose the narrow door. These two disciplines are the best kind of start.
What are your thoughts on Solitude and Silence? Do you find yourself distracted, how do you overcome that? Find it scary? Or is it just awesome? Let us know!