How has your walk with God developed in 2013?

I see things have quieted down here. I am myself sorry for not coming here and writing/commenting more often – earlier this year my life took some turns that led to me not spending too much time on this blog.

Yet, I am a fan of this blog and would hate to see it fade into permanent stillness. Perhaps the season of stillness may have been a good thing. But I hope we can move into another season of active, contructive, challenging engagement, as well as sharing and encouragement.

I therefore throw the title question in your general direction:

How has your walk with God developed in 2013?

This not so much a “how have you been doing” question as it is “what new things have you learnt? what new things have you experienced? what old views and understandings did you drop and what new ones do you favor?”

Turning the question on myself, I’ll say that I have come to value faithfulness to God much more than I used to. Both because I failed in my faithfullness personally, but also because I saw a lot of unfaithfullness around me. I’ve been reminded that, for all our spirituality, our wisdom and understanding about God, the Church and being a Christian, what is really important is how faithfull you are to these things.

I’ve also grown a distaste for the practice of the “gifts of the spirit” – not because I believe that they are any less real or biblical than I did before. I still believe they are and that they should be sought after by Christians! Yet… I’ve just yet to see a church that gets it even almost right. Mostly I see abuse of these gifts, or at best that they are used without yielding any real fruit.

Altar Calls have become a bit absurd to me. The principle is good and solid: a call to salvation or a call to repentence. Yet it *must* be a first step to growth. I find that some churches get simply stuck in an infinite loop of Altar Calls. Every week Satan is divorced, strongholds over lives are broken, forgiveness is finally released, captives are set free and life is spoken… and yet every week the very people who had “a spiritual breakthrough” by going forward a week or two ago, saunters forward again. If these “personal encounters with God” are what they are made out to be, I’d expect their legacy to be a bit longer than 5 or 10 days.

I miss that the church builds on Altar Calls and let Christians to actually grow beyond the point where they require weekly life-changing prayers.

I still go to Church, by the way, even though I find the experience fruitless or stale most of the times. I go because I feel I ought to – even if it’s just to keep alive the possibility of a spiritual revival within myself – and to have fellowship with other Christians (which also does not always work out the way I would like). I stopped going to cell, the main reason being that I did not feel I had a good reason TO go to cell.

Well, that’s me. Interested to hear what’ve been going on with you guys…

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The Third Category

One of the first things that I have to make a decision on when I meet a person is in which one of three spiritual “categories” he/she falls. This decision will have a profound influence on my dealings with the person. The categories are simple: True Believer, Nominal Christian and Non-Believer.

Dealing with True Believers and with Non-Believers is quite straightforward. The new testament is full of instructions and examples on how to do this:

In his sermon on the mount Jesus gave many practical guidelines on dealing with Non-Believers, and when praying with his disciples shortly before the crucifixion (in the gospel of John), Jesus spoke about how believers must love each other. There are also plenty of guidelines in the epistles about how we are to live with other True Believers.

But dealing with Nominal Christians can become complicated very quickly. Especially if they are overtly living in sin. Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” For me the acid test to determine whether or not someone is a true believer is to simply ask whether their day-to-day lives are in accordance with Jesus’ commands.

I find it very disturbing when a person overtly lives in sin, such as sexual immorality, drunkenness or homosexuality, yet claims to be a Christian. I need no incentive to not be friends with such a person – I don’t want to.

But sometimes “evading” such people are sadly not an option. Examples: my one friend is in a cell group with a guy who is living with his girlfriend. I have recently started dating a girl who’s sister is doing the same thing (while claiming that they are both Christians, and that they pray together and so and so.)

I find it tricky to deal with this situation, and I would like your guys’ input on how you understand scripture concerning this.

Here’s a bit more context: Continue reading