I said a few weeks ago that I was learning to appreciate running and that I'm not yet loving running, though I am loving the effects of it. True enough, as I see the subtle changes in my body, mood, and attitude I am happy to be running. I even love the opportunity to be alone for a few minutes, with nothing scheduled - just me and the road I'm walking on. But it all boils down to one simple fact: I still don't like running.
Last night I had a thought: is my faith the same? Do I love Christ or just the results of loving Christ? It almost hurt to be so honest with myself. Could it be possible that after all these years I just love the effects of my faith? Please accept these next few thoughts in the manner in which they were intended...
***Do I follow Christ because it makes me a "better" person? (Not better than anyone else, but better than the sinful me.)
***Do I follow Christ because it gets me into heaven?
***Do I follow Christ because it protects me from the dangers of the world? (Won't ever make a stupid drunken decision because I don't drink. Won't ever get an STD because I'm in a faithful marriage. Etc.)
These are just a few of the results that I considered. Or, and I hope, do I love Christ for who He is? Do I love Christ just for the sake of loving Christ? I can tell you honestly - If running didn't help me become the person I want to be, I would not run. God forgive me if I ever feel the same way about Him.
I'd say that indirectly, all Christians follow Christ to reap the benefits. If only bad stuff happened as a result of serving Christ, how many of us would continue to serve Him? I'd like to think I would, because serving Him & others shouldn't be a selfish act at all.
I'd say that some Christians begin their journey of faith because of the love they have for Christ only to end up following Christ to reap the benefits, the selfish reason. Maybe that's my cynicism talking... :)
Thanks for your honesty.