I just finished binge watching The Chosen, seasons 1-3. If you have not watched it, I would highly recommend it. Among many things, my biggest take away from the episodes depicting the life of Jesus and the early days of his ministry was that the Christian faith started and continues to be a cross cultural and cross generational movement that promotes the value, dignity and equality of all people as being the image of God. The polarization of viewpoints that existed during Jesus’ time was intense and dangerous. The courage it took for the 12 Apostles to devote their lives to this new, countercultural faith in their polarized society was astounding. I’ve known this, but watching it play out in The Chosen made the struggles much more real and relatable.
Even though Jesus and the Apostles walked the earth over 2,000 years ago, the intense polarization of ideas, values and faiths remains. We still live in a world where people can and do die because of their faith. We can also lose jobs or just lose friendships we thought we had. Living and sharing your faith can feel daunting in our times.
I know that I have hidden my faith because I didn’t want to offend anyone or rock the boat. I have come to realize that many of the things that I have done at work and the rest of my life quietly demonstrated my Christian faith. I have also come to realize that I didn’t have a “big view” of God at the time and didn’t necessarily do those things because of my faith, but because it was the right thing to do. So, the impact on my life and those around me was not what it could have been.
What is a “big view” of God? It is putting God at the center of all your life’s thoughts and interactions. How do I do that? If you try to start with what you should do, you’re never going to be successful in bringing your faith to all your life. If you start with the way you see God, you will have a solid foundation to build from. If you don’t have a “big view” of God, you won’t believe in him for the big things and you won’t trust in him enough to surrender to Him for the little ones.
So, if living and sharing our faith is the goal, how can we do that when we don’t see God in everything we do? We need to put God at the center of our lives so that our decision making, and actions reflect his desires and not ours. As you humbly start to live that way, people will notice. This will get people to start talking with you because they want to emulate your actions and reap the joy you are experiencing. That will allow you to share your faith in a friendly and non-confrontational environment at a speed that both of you are comfortable with.
All this then begs the question, "how can I put God at the center of my life?". There are several ways, but I am confident that serving at the food bank a couple more times a week isn't the answer. Putting God at the center will likely turn your viewpoint upside down and inside out. Think about just a few aspects of your life:
- Your material wealth is “on loan” from God. Everything you earn is because of God. You need some wealth to have the necessities of life and God wants that for you. What happens with the rest? How would God want you to spend that money? Purchase extra shoes versus giving a bigger tip to the waitress that really needs the money. Can you maximize the impact of what you have earned with your God given talents?
- Your talents are from God. Whether you are a scientist, customer service worker, homemaker, or laborer, you have a special talent or skill that others simply don’t have. When you take your next phone call, build your next deck, or serve your next meal, what if you did it as if God was your customer or recipient of your service? Would you do it differently? Build things a bit straighter or smile a bit bigger. How are you going to use your talent to honor God?
- God has a purpose for everyone around you. Everyone around you has talent given to them by God. God can always use a person who has a great smile and warm personality as a greeter in a restaurant. Let them brighten someone’s day. How can you help those around you to find their talents and maximize them?
- Take time and be thankful. Our world is crazy busy. Purposely set aside a small amount of time to just sit in your garden or a nearby park, take a walk in the woods or quiet trail, or sit on your front step and enjoy the view. God made all of this for you to enjoy. Take a few minutes to thank God for all that you have and not complain about what you don’t have.
As you start to see God’s impact in your life in a different way, you will treat those around you differently, make decisions differently and be much more appreciative of things in your life. Philippians 2:3-5 has a great summary of “living like Jesus”:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
If you are asking yourself "how can I get a “big view” of God?", reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about how you can start your journey.