by Howard Glass
The Christian life is not church attendance, fellowship with other believers, prayer, giving, or Bible study-important as these are. But it is entirely possible for a person to be regularly in services, singing the songs, hearing sermons, going through all the right motions, and still not get to know Jesus. Sadly, individuals may use all these things that support Christianity as crutches. Doing all the right things can snare them into believing they are walking with God, when in fact they are spiritually crippled-crippled, because without the externals to hold them up, they sense no relationship with God.
The Christian life begins when we, with a free will, commit to serve Christ and His purpose.
This is the consummation of our freedom, the whole reason we were created. Most religious activity can be carried out without this. We tend to think that steady devotional habits will distinguish us as model Christians. Yet, if one's devotional life is only a crutch, what is comforting to begin with can eventually becomes a burden.
Actual Christian living begins when the worship service is over and we find ourselves away from the supportive environment and have to apply the things we've learned in church.
Spiritual growth only happens as the Christian mixes with the world and struggles to glorify God.
To find spiritual meaning apart from our devotional lives we must stop defining ourselves with religious behavior alone. We must seize opportunities to be like Jesus-actively giving our best to the world. Opportunities for service are not hard to find. We can start small if we must.
Simply being cheerful toward strangers is a step in the right direction. Deliberately making someone else's way brighter, for the sake of Christ, is a satisfaction no Christian should miss.
When we understand that the proper place of religious exercises is as a support system for Christian living, and not as a crutch; when we know that we are impacting the world, even in some small way, we will know that we are becoming the Christian we have aspired to be. Then our devotional habits begin to feel genuine, satisfying, and full of joy.