"Christianity Is Not Karma," Authors Remind Believers
Have you put your trust in Christ, asking Him to forgive you and trying to please Him with your life, and yet still feel like you don't measure up? Take heart, you're not alone.
According to press release of Evangelical Press Association, ironically, many followers of Christ are missing Him. Not for lack of trying. In fact, we're usually trying too hard, say Charles and Janet Morris of Haven Ministries, and co-authors of Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story (Moody Publishers).
"Knowing that Jesus has delivered you out of the need to justify your own existence sets you free to really live for God," says Charles, whose daily radio program "HAVEN Today" has a listenership of 500,000 and airs on more than 600 stations in North America and around the world.
It's just natural for humans to think in terms of karma, the authors say. Even Christians tend to operate with a cause and effect mentality-if we do everything right we'll be blessed, if we do it wrong, the blessing will be withheld.
"I struggle with this," Janet admits. "I sometimes feel responsible for everything from my children's happiness to the weather! I can look at the day ahead and launch into life as if checking everything off my list is going to justify my existence."
So how do we move past what Martin Luther calls the "monster of uncertainty"? How do we intentionally not miss Jesus-His grace, His greatness, His glory?
Charles summarizes, "We need nothing short of a Copernican revolution, a profound shift in our worldview that comes from seeing the crucified, resurrected Jesus is everything we could possibly ever want or need. It's actually a simple shift in perspective, but it changes everything."
He concludes, "As believers we need to know that we can stop tending to our standing before God. We can take in what Jesus has done and make it the basis of our lives."
As speaker and president of Haven Ministries, Charles Morris brings a rich background to Christian radio from secular media. Starting his career as a broadcast news reporter, he then worked as an editor and bureau chief for United Press International. He also served as press secretary for two former U.S. Senators in addition to owning and managing a radio station. While in seminary in Philadelphia, he began consulting and then worked as an assistant to the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice before coming to Haven as the ministry's fourth speaker in 2000. Janet has a background in Bible teaching and leading women's retreats and joins her husband in helping write the daily messages. Together, Charles and Janet have co-authored two other books, Jesus in the Midst of Success and Saving a Life. They have three children and three grandchildren.
SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR THE AUTHORS
In a few words, can you bottom line what it means to be "missing Jesus"?
You say that believers can be doing right things for Jesus and still be missing Him. How?
You talk about how Christianity isn't karma. What about the coming judgment?
You also talk about Jesus having "multiple roles" in the parable of The Prodigal Son. Can you explain this and why it's important for believers?
You quote Tim Keller who says that unlike other faiths, in Christianity "the verdict leads to the performance." Can you talk more about this?
How does being released from the burden of having to maintain our righteous standing with God actually fuel us with energy to live for God?
Are you afraid that a message of radical grace will lead to Christians living their own way?
You say the more we try to be holy, the more self-focused we can become. Can you talk about this irony and how it causes us to miss Him?
What are some practical things a believer can do to NOT miss Jesus?