I travel a lot for work. In the car, I try to listen to Christian music stations on the radio because I like the music and there are (usually) good encouraging messages to keep you focused on what’s real and what matters in life.
But I found myself rolling my eyes and shaking my head because some of the commercials, songs and artist interviews portray Christianity like it’s a coffee boutique. Quaint with pretty packaging, clean, and can I say it? Superficial.
Rural or Suburban?
While it’s true that Father God can find you anywhere, and different things can remind us of God, it’s been my experience that the spiritual life is frontier. More rural than suburban. It’s been my experience that it takes a pioneering spirit in your relationship with Father God.
We all have things going on in our lives. We all have experienced—or are experiencing–sorrows, griefs and wounds. No amount of Christian, Bible verse lattes (churchy sayings) are going to make it better.
These require us to be real with ourselves and with Father God.
This means we have to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty as we search for the roots–on our knees in pursuit of the heart of Father God who wants us healed and whole. Life is like the weather (not just chocolate!) and it takes a daily relationship with Father God to make it through the day.
It seems that we try to live behind a facade, pretending that life is perfect, sunshine and roses every day, if you are a Christian. But it’s not. Even when we have a relationship with Father God, there are real troubles that we face. Could we put down the facades and be real? To ourselves and to Father God. (By the way, that practice would help us be real with others, too.)
The Journey of the Bean
Now, about coffee. I like it. And yes, I occasionally go to coffee shops; most atmospheres are good there, and the smell of coffee is great.
Have you considered the journey of the coffee bean?
It’s grown in tropical “frontier” areas, picked and dried before it travels halfway around the world to get roasted, ground and bathed in hot water.
Sometimes our lives feel the same way, so we can be real (like the coffee bean!) about that and quit pretending that our lives are the perfect cup. At least not yet, for we must allow Christ to fulfill His work in our lives, to receive His forgiveness, love, re-interpretations of life in those areas of woundedness, counsel and guidance through His Word and the Holy Spirit.
It’s not church culture Father God is after—it is about the real person in real life—each of us.
Just take a look at the disciples, they were not polished men, but they were real. They learned as they went, didn’t always make the right choices, or have the right responses. But they did walk with Christ, followed, learned, adjusted, and changed the world.
Real GOOD Desires
One final thought. Part of being real is to pursue the godly desires within you. Some church culture has handed down the tradition of “the sinner worm” theology as truth.
This means—and has spoken way too loudly to our youth—that every desire is sinful, and must be crucified daily as part of our flesh.
It’s true that some of our desires are sinful in nature, and those must be crucified. However, there are other desires placed there by Father God that are not sinful–and these need to be cultivated. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in which to pursue.
Who knows? Maybe it’s a coffee shop where people can be real and experience the realness of Father God.
Father, thank You for the permission to take off the facade and be real. Please shine Your soft light in and bathe me in Your love—which I open the doors in my spirit and soul to receive. Please cause me to see what You want me to see about myself and about You. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
About the Author
Stephen Wade grew up in Texas, but has traveled throughout North America in his work in insurance. Having served as a youth pastor, he holds a deep desire to see the next generations anchored in truth and love, walking in freedom. Stephen sees the beauty in Creation and captures it on film; he also possesses an innate ability to perceive the hidden value in aged and broken furniture, machinery, etc., and under his careful attention, restoration is worked.