by Chris Donato
I met a fellow the other day who claimed (in jest) to be a member of a recovery group for those addicted to rededications. Apparently, he had suffered from years of rededicating his life to God. By the time he was eighteen, he had rededicated his life ten times. The emotional support and strength he garnered every time he went forward at the end of camp week left him exhilarated, ready to face the task of being Christian in this world — that is, until he slipped up again.
Now, by no means is there anything wrong with rededicating one’s life to God, but by the tenth time, we might consider the notion that something in the church (by “church” I mean “laity,” not “clergy”) has run amuck. That something might be the lack of discipleship. Far too anxious to “get people in,” to pray the prayer, we have ignored what it takes to stay in, namely, the irresistible and efficient grace of God. Just as soon as we can get a Christian profession out of someone, we drop that person and move on to the next. What does this produce except new converts who have to learn the hard way how to avoid false teaching, or worse, confessors of the faith who have no faith at all? Combine this with the unspoken but ubiquitous (and misguided) doctrine that really good Christians no longer struggle with sin, and we have a situation ripe for rededications.
While dispensing with sin is indeed the charge and duty of all who claim to follow Jesus, the fact that sin persists in this world reveals our need of the grace of God. This, of course, does not mean that we continue in sin so that grace may abound (“By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Rom. 6:2). Rather, our continuing battle with sin, seemingly increased because as Christians we are more sensitive to it, reveals to us God’s abundant grace (see Rom. 5:20).
By this grace we are made into Christ’s disciples, but it doesn’t happen by just quietly sitting there. This is where the tired cliché “something worth fighting for” actually applies. Becoming a disciple of Christ has to be desired, yearned for, chased after; and further, we who are in a position to disciple must be willing to do so; we must actively seek the opportunities so to do (see Matt. 28:19a). And that means, if the metaphor holds, getting our dirty hands dirty with the lives of others. It simply will not do to shuffle people in only to shuffle them aside, unless we’re ready to send into battle one-legged soldiers in an army of rededication addicts.
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