Thursdays With Oswald—Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Is Your Christianity Actual Or Only Ideal? 

     Christianity is not adherence to a set of principles—righteousness, goodness, uprightness—all these things are secondary. The first great fundamental thing about Christianity is a personal relationship to Jesus Christ which enables a man to work out the ideal and actual as one in his own personal life. … 

     We are not built for mountains and dawns and artistic affinities; they are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff of life, and this is where we have to prove our mettle. A false Christianity takes us up on the mount and we want to stay there. “But what about the devil-possessed world?” “Oh, let it go to hell! We are having a great time up here.” … It is a great thing to be on the mount with God, and the mountains are meant for inspiration and meditation; but a man is taken there only in order that he may go down afterwards among the devil-possessed and lift them up. … 

     God won’t clear up our social conditions; Jesus Christ is not a social Reformer, He came to alter us first, and if there is any social reform done on earth, we will have to do it. … 

     If we cannot live in the demon-possessed valley, with the hold of God on us, lifting up those who are down by the power of the thing that is in us, our Christianity is only an abstraction.

From The Shadow Of An Agony

Jesus Christ did not stay on the mountaintops with His Father, aloof from the needs of people. He went away for times of refreshing, but always came back to the messiness of people’s lives.

Can the same be said of our Christianity? Are we content with merely knowing we are going to Heaven? Or are we daily going into the valleys to rescue those oppressed and held captive by the devil?

Ideal Christianity wants to be alone with Jesus on the mountain. Actual Christianity—that Jesus modeled for us—meets with Christ on the mountain only to be strengthened for the work in the valley. 

Is your Christianity actual, or only ideal?

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