Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY? or DFM? or LDT

Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.  Philippians 2:12

It is the mantra of our culture,  do it yourself.  It also feels good.   We are hard wired to want to be independent and self reliant.   For many of us it is difficult to ask for help,  we suppose that it is a failure when we do.   Doing it for our-self elevates our self esteem and confidence and gives us some achievements to hang our hats on.   We can at times also bring a DIY mentality to our life in relationship to God.   We begin to focus on what it is we need to do to be better people,  or more holy people, or more virtuous ones.  This is an important spiritual task.  St. Paul wrote to the Christians who lived in the ancient Greek city of Phillpi and left us the book of the Bible that bears their name, to do just that.   One needs to take actions for him or herself to live out a faith relationship with Jesus Christ.  If however, we focus on this too much we can be led astray into either undue pride or despair. So Paul says in the very next sentence:

for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

So even while God calls us to an individual effort we are reminded that we really don't do things alone.   God through the Holy Spirit works with us.   In terms of your discipleship, your personal responsibility and accountability should never lead to isolation from God or others.   For there will be times when we are not able to do it all by ourselves.  For example, you can not save yourself from death only God can.  The truth is that we are also hard wired to rely on each other and God.   As with doing it yourself, there are pitfalls to be found on being too focused to having others help you all the time,   One can start to lose sight of their God given abilities and miss out on the fullness of life and start to think that he or she is not as valuable as others.   Even more tragic is when one begins to feel that doing things for oneself is beneath him or her.  Other people then become mere tools of manipulation for us rather than fellow children of God.

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  Romans 13:8

There is a third way, and that is working together.    Paul's picture of the Body of Christ is one where each person accountably following his or her unique calling becomes part of an interdependent community centered in God.   In truth, we are at times called into all three ways of engaging our world.  There will be times when we need to buck up and take matters into our hands.   There are obviously times when you will need the help of others just to make it one more day, and there are always times when the Spirit calls us to work together with others.   Deciding what to when is one of the most important aspects of a healthy prayer life.  

so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. Romans 12:5

In the life of our church right now the main way that God is calling us minister is by learning to work together.   It seems like these days there are plenty of gurus out there calling their followers to just follow their method and therefore save themselves in a DIY type of way.   There are also churches who are built around providing spiritual goods and services in exchange for offerings in the plate where consumers demand that the church just do it for them.  None of these ways of ministry capture the richness, fullness and grace of the living (and biblical) body of Christ, where each person understands that he or she is accountable to others and privileged to be with others at the same time.   What we are trying to do here at Holy Cross is pull together and minister as family in Christ so that we can work together.  You can DIY (do it yourself) or you can sit back and demand DFM (do it for me),  or you can lift your head and look your neighbor in the eye and say LDT! (let's do it together!)

Keep the Faith, 
Pastor Knecht