I was a bit of a punk in Bible college. If you knew me well during that time you’d probably agree. I was high on theology, I think. My drug of choice was Calvinism mixed with a bias against anything popular. Not so good, looking back.
Whenever I was introduced to a new ministry or organization I would look it up in order to decide whether I liked it or not. How would I make that choice? Was it by looking at what they did? Was it by finding out how they had made a difference in the world? No, of course not. It was by checking out their statement of faith. The closer it was to what I had already decided was true (I had all of theology figured out back then) the better I liked it.
I look back at all that and I realize I was looking at the wrong things. I wonder, now, how I could have possibly thought that a statement of faith would have been able to tell me anything useful about a group or person. Isn’t a life of faithfulness better than being right about the inner working of the Trinity? So I had an idea. Instead of making a statement of faith for our lives, why don’t we make our lives statements of faithfulness?
A Statement of Faithfulness:
We will be born again from above and strive to be filled with the Spirit, as he was filled with the Spirit (John 3:5-8).
We will live a life of service, as he lived a life of service (Matthew 20:28).
We will lay down our lives to benefit others, as he laid down his life to benefit others (Mark 10:45).
We will love God with every fiber of our being, as he loved God (Matthew 22:37).
We will love our neighbours in the same measure and fervency as we love ourselves, as he loved his neighbours (Matthew 22:39).
We will live out the Sermon on the Mount, as he lived out his own preaching (Matthew 5-7).
We will shun religion, as he shunned religion (Matthew 12:1-8).
We will salt (preserve) the world, as he salted the world (Matthew 5:13).
We will identify with the scum and outcasts of society, as he identified with the scum and outcasts (Luke 7:34).
We will agree that anyone not against us is for us, just as he said (Mark 9:40).
We will forgive all and hold grudges against none, just as he forgave while being murdered (Luke 23:34).
We will assume suffering is normative, just as he assumed it to be normative (John 15:20).
We will live simply, just as he lived simply (Matthew 8:20).
We will rejoice with the rejoicers and weep with the weepers, just as he was also empathetic (John 11:35).
We will make disciples, not converts, just as he made disciples (Matthew 23:15).
We will refuse to commercialize or politicize this lifestyle, as Jesus also refused (John 6:15).
We will turn no one away, as he turned away no one (John 6:37).
We will pray long and hard, as he prayed long and hard (Luke 6:12).
After praying, we will serve long and hard, as he served long and hard.
We will take and make opportunities to attack injustice and hypocrisy and make things better, as he also did (Luke 11:37-38).
We will be Spirit-filled and wild, as he was Spirit-filled and wild (John 3:8).
We will make no apologies and will not conform to what the world or what religion demands of us, just as he refused to conform.
Instead of working hard to find the right words to explain what we believe, I want to work hard to live out what I believe.