This is normally what I will say to people when a statement or question is made and someone makes a generic Christian-based answer. An example:
A few weeks ago, my very close friend Tom did a talk at our youth service where he asked the question “Why do we come to this youth service in particular?” to which one of the young people responded in a very monotone way “So we can worship and learn more about Jesus.” to which then I responded “Wow! That’s a very good Christian answer!”
That is kind of what I mean by it, when people say something completely obvious within a Christian context just so they can get on with it, in a sense (Reading your Bible, go to church, love God and people as you’d love yourself, etc.). That and 50% of the time, it is normally said by someone who doesn’t tend to practice their own preaching. I have had the displeasure of seeing both young and old saying these things or answering questions like this and yet as soon as the service is over and teas and coffees have begun, you get the idea…
Now, what I would like to say at this point, is that these answers that I’m talking about now are really good answers, if they are said with true integrity and not just being said off the cuff and have no value. As Christians, we are instructed to read our Bibles:
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. – 1 Timothy 4:13
We are instructed to not only go, but to grow God’s church:
“…On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” – Matthew 16:18
“…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
And we’re called to love God and to love people:
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40
So I’m not diminishing these things which we’re told to do, what I am trying to diminish (in a sense) is people playing these down and just saying them just for the sake of saying them.
I guess where I am trying to go with this is, people can very easily know this mentally, but it’s another thing to know it spiritually. We can read the Gospels and we can see God has provided a new way for us through Jesus, and we can know that mentally, but then we go through the storms and trials of life, and we see God move in a miraculous way, we can then know spiritually that Christ can provide a new way for us. It’s that knowing both mentally and spiritually I think that needs to happen I believe.
A favourite example of mine in recent memory. I have spoken before about Professor William Kay, he is a lecturer at Mattersey Hall and I am very much in awe of his genius, the man is a gifted intellectual and if I could have just 1/3 of his wisdom, I would be a very fortunate man. Anyways, I was in one of his lectures for Christian Worldview, and he is speaking all of these theological things and he then starts talking about the crucifixion of Christ, and as many have said before he started to get somewhat emotional. As his God, the Christ, died not just for the whole world but for him personally. Most of us was taken aback at how in love he is with Jesus, and I learned that you could have a giant brain in any theology field, but if you don’t have the heart set that God wants you to have, then you may just be in the wrong field.
I’m not sure where I was going with this when I started, but I believe what we can all be in God’s kingdom is genuine, genuine where we can be real and not just say things off the cuff and to get extra brownie points in our Christian books, but in actual fact say the things that God would want us to say, and to live it out in practice, developing our lives with Christ so we can be both imitators and ambassadors of Christ.