Back To The Future
Back to the future of our Christian faith. I’m intrigued by the lifestyle of the early Christians. They brought about an astounding transformation, culturally, socially and personally.
So much has been written about their persecution & their martyrdom. While it would be a mistake to romanticize the early Christ-followers, I am curious, what kind of lives did they lead and what examples and instructions can I apply to my way of life in 2018?
Justin Martyr, a noted early Christian theologian, wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius and described the believers:
"We formerly rejoiced in uncleanness of life, but now love only chastity; before we used the magic arts, but now dedicate ourselves to the true and unbegotten God...
...Before we loved money and possessions more than anything, but now we share what we have and to everyone who is in need...
...Before we hated one another and killed one another and would not eat with those of another race, but now since the manifestation of Christ, we have come to a common life and pray for our enemies and try to win over those who hate us without just cause."
In another commentary, Justin points out how those opposed to Christianity were sometimes won over as they saw the consistency in the lives of believers, noting their extraordinary forbearance when cheated and their honesty in business dealings.
I’m a product of my generation. I need application. So here’s my take-a-ways from Pastor Justin’s 2nd century words of antiquity:
Devoted to God; What a triumph for God and what blessing for us, that we who once lived only to please ourselves, now live for the pleasure of God. So in my devotion to God I don’t become a better version of myself, I become a more accurate reflection of Christ.
Sharing; Intentionally demonstrating Jesus’ love through action; When you feel like you can’t explain your faith you just go love someone.
Praying; Instead of choosing sides…pray - especially for those you disagree with; This is the way of Jesus, it’s not easy, but it’s the way that leads to life.
Consistency; Avoiding the extremes in our faith-walk is huge, so I constantly remind myself of the tenets, the creed(s), of my faith; In my consistency I strive not to become more spiritual by becoming less human or less caring.
The future is ours to make. History can't tell us what the future will be, but maybe it can empower us to act.