fiy-on asked a question:
Any advice for new Christians? How do we continue to keep our faith growing deeper and more personal with the Lord? And how do we “measure” our growth? How do we know that we’re moving forward with the spiritual journey, not merely staying stagnant?
Hey my dear friend, thank you so much for trusting me with such a huge question. This is one of those things I would love to sit down with you over coffee, but alas I hope I can jumpstart your journey in just a few words here.
I’m afraid perhaps that a To-Do Checklist will make you more neurotic about your faith and you’ll put more hope in a flowchart than Jesus — so please hear me in that the Christian faith is not about doing more or less, but about letting the life of Christ work in you as you get to know Him and rest in His grace.
This is probably very counter-intuitive to everything else in the world: because we’re always performing to a deadline or due dates or demands, and all this for a paycheck or a score. Our fallen world is only familiar with working for approval instead of from approval. Yet the Gospel tells us that God already approves of us through His Son, and so we work from that acceptance and not for it. It’s tough for us to really wrap around the Gospel because we live in a reward-punishment culture. But the Gospel motivates you by an unchanging relational anchor, which is the only way to have real joy.
Let’s look at the difference between a Boss and a Mentor. Your Boss says “Do A and you’ll get B.” Your Mentor says “I’m giving you A to help you do A.” Your Boss probably respects you and even teaches you, but he’s looking out for his profit. Your Mentor loves you and even likes you, and he’s looking out for you. Your Boss will promote you if you do well enough. Your Mentor has already promoted you to the very highest position. Your Boss will make you a partner if you work harder than everyone else. Your Mentor has already made you a co-heir regardless of how much you’ve failed. Your Boss requires you to be good to earn his respect. Your Mentor will make you good by simply loving you. Your Boss might let you go if you’re not performing well. Your Mentor is like a father to his son: you’re adopted into the family, and you don’t have to “try” to be his son.
This analogy isn’t perfect: but we’re learning that Jesus is all about grace.