Pondering the Committed Life | Scot McKnight
By Amanda Stravinsky
With school in full swing (we’re three weeks in, y’all. Yikes!), it’s too easy to put our spiritual lives on the backburner. The onslaught of homework, tests, pop quizzes, and projects, socializing and finding time to actually sleep takes up most of our day. It’s easy to think “Okay, God, I’m really busy right now. I’ll spend time with you later.” The only problem is the “later” gets later and later until one day we have a time to actually slow down and we wonder why we feel like we’ve taken one step forward but twenty back.
University Ministries understands this which is why Emerge happened this week with key-speaker, Scot McKnight. It was a time to relax and rejuvenate, coming back to the real reason why we’re at Belmont: God called us here. There’s a purpose that must be sought here.
McKnight walked up to the stage Wednesday and gave a hard talk on “Pursuing the Committed Life”. His eyes were kind but his words were, sometimes, difficult to swallow. He opened his speech with two questions, two simple questions that hold so much weight.
What is a Christian?
How would Jesus answer the question?
Let’s tackle the second question first.
McKnight talked about how Jesus was a moral zealot. He did things and said things that were completely right but totally outside the lines of traditional, organized religion. In that time, the organized religion was Judaism.
Jesus taught to hate your brother was just as bad as murder and looking lustfully at a woman (or man) was adultery (Matthew 5:21, 22, 27, 28). He taught to love your neighbor AND your enemy. “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you” (Luke 6: 27, 28).
Jesus wants us, all of us. Every single fiber of our body He wants for His purpose, His will. He wants a committed Christian (Luke 9:57-62), not someone who is “taking up a seat or pew in church on Sunday”. Jesus doesn’t want a Sunday-morning-devout Christian. He wants us when we wake up in the morning and when we lie down at night. He wants our mornings, afternoons and evenings. He wants our conversations, our thoughts, our hearts, our very souls.
Isn’t that what He died for?
Jesus didn’t come to give us all A’s in the spirituality department. He came to wake us up, to get us out of the routine, to stop simply saying we’re Christians and start living like Christians. “You cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own” (Luke 14:33).
This brings us to the first question:
What is a Christian?
A Christian is a Christ-follower. It’s someone who follows Jesus 24/7.
Can you identify with this statement?
Are you following Jesus 24/7?
Jesus wants more from Christians than anyone else. Why? If we truly believe in Him, we have the Truth in us. He wants us to set an example for those around us. He wants us to be reconciled with our friends and family and all people. Scot McKnight called this the “Community of Shalom” or the “Community of Peace”. We are to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), not a carbon-copy of the Real Housewives or Jersey Shore cast members who argue incessantly. We’re to be in the world, not of the world (John 15:19).
When people look at us they should wonder, “Why are they so happy? Despite everything going on, why are they so at peace?” People should see a difference in us. When arguments do occur, people should see us wielding the weapons of love and peace rather than fists and cutting words.
The words Jesus gave us are not easy. There are times we’re going to mess up. None of us are perfect. But thanks be to God that “if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9). McKnight urged us to begin and end our day with Matthew 22:37-39:
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
I think it’s time we stop pondering and start pursuing a committed life to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.