I was in a ballet class some months ago when the instructor was making observations about hyperextended joints - those joints which we straighten and then tend to turn slightly in the other direction. My knees are a little hyperextended. Sometimes it hurts since those joints aren't really as strong as the joints which don't hyperextend are. After all, our joints are only meant to bend one direction.
I was thinking about this as I was putting on a knee brace so as to make it more bearable to walk up stairs recently. It isn't just my joints that are hyperextended. And it isn't just my life which is quite stretched. I think there's something about our society which is hyperextended. Our economy did it. Our legal system seems to be doing it. Our families and communities are hyperextended. And so are many of our churches.
While hyerextension in our society in general is dangerous, tending toward eventual economic collapse, unemployment, and inflation, I would venture to say the same characteristics within our churches are even more dangerous. How many times have we found ourselves in a faith of doing rather than a faith of being? What have you done to show you are a real disciple of Christ? How many Bible studies do you attend on a weekly basis? How many accountability partners do you have? Did you have breakfast with someone to talk about Scripture and pray once or twice this week? How many committees do you sit on in your local church? Are you committed to personal and family devotionals on a daily basis? Are you maintaining a prayer list for the people in your congregation and other people you know of who are involved in vocational ministry? How many people have you witnessed to for Christ?
Do we see that ultimately this ends up as a faith of works, rather than a work of faith? Do we see that we end up looking for deliverance by our works and not by God's grace appropriated by faith?
I think that's somewhere that Cap'n Salty and the Marmoset are trying to sail away from. Yet in every port of call we find it is the norm, not the exception. And whenever we look into ourselves we see the very same attitudes. It's just that in the Scripture we don't find those attitudes. A biblical Christian life is a life of being. The doing does happen but it isn't the primary feature. The being is the primary feature.