We are blessed with an insightful, energetic, wonderful minister at the church where we belong. I typically learn something new and find something profound to reflect upon after hearing him preach, which is really saying something given my husband and I are simultaneously pew-wrangling two small children.
A few weeks ago, the most poignant thing I brought home from our church service was from the children's message. I'm sure it was no coincidence that I was really listening to that message since both of our children were up at the altar, listening at Pastor's feet!
Pastor began the message by talking about chocolate cake (which seriously caught my attention). He pointed out that we enjoy chocolate cake when all the ingredients are mixed together, but we don't like just each individual ingredient. Who craves two cups of flour, right?
He went on to compare this to Martin Luther's position on what makes a Christian. I can't find an online reference for this... maybe my search terms are incorrect... but Martin Luther said that God's Word, prayer, and suffering are the ingredients that comprise a Christian. My husband and I joked later that day how that church service made us Christians. We suffered through a small toddler tantrum, and prayed she would calm down quickly so we could hear God's Word! Tongue-in-cheek aside, though, this ingredient list for the recipe to be a Christian is something that I have really been thinking about lately.
Christians need God's Word to grow in His Grace and knowledge. The Bible is God's inspired word to us. The Bible contains all the answers as well as all the mistakes (Have you ever noticed the magnitude of sin in the Bible? Incest, murder, lying, stealing, double-crossing, hit men... it seems like every sin ever conceived of is addressed). God's Word gives us examples on how to live a Christian life as well as encouragement to do so. It admonishes us but more importantly, it lifts us up. It's a guide - and certainly everyone needs a guide. A true Christian needs a true knowledge of God's Word so that we can live according to His will for us.
Christians need prayer. Prayer is our direct hot line to God. It is a 24/7 means of communication for us to talk to Him. God's Word tells us to pray often and with sincerity. We can give thanks, make requests, and laud the glory of our King. We can pray any time, any where, and reveal any thing. That is a very open relationship!
Christians need suffering. When I first heard our pastor say this a thought flashed through my mind: "Yup, Christians always have to have it rough". But that selfish thought quickly passed when I considered it more. Christians need suffering to show us how much we need God. We can't do anything without Him. God didn't ever promise that laying down our lives to follow Him would be easy - or fun - but he did promise "never will I leave you, never will I forsake you" (Heb 13:5). Don't all humans - Christians or not - at some point suffer? When we suffer, we are to turn to God. How do we turn to Him? Through prayer and God's Word.
It's all intertwined - prayer, suffering, and God's Word. Some of us have one or two of these "ingredients" but when they are all three working together, Luther says we become Christians. Growing, stumbling, seeking-to-live-His-will Christians.
Let Me Start By Saying...
17 hours ago