Is your life descriptive or experimental? 

I believe the Christian life is a dangerous one… which expels an explosive life of power and influence (please pardon my gaseous discharge illustration).  But I’m curious if you think following Jesus is supposed to be a descriptive life… which displays a life lived for Jesus?  Or is following Jesus supposed to be an experimental life… which seeks how to live for Jesus?

What is the Christian life?  What should people see, hear, smell from the inner core of who we are?  A descriptive revelation or an experimental journey? 


  1. Are we not BOTH slave and free? Regardless of whether we call ourselves Christ followers or not, we are both slave and free. We are either slaves to sin and free from the life God calls us to, or free from the bondage of sin and slaves to God. Either way, we’re slave and free.
    I think part of what Andrew is identifying is what Karl Barth talks about in his book “Christ and Adam.” Barth posits that our true identity is not in Adam but in Christ, because Adam is only the “type” where Christ is the ultimate expression of human nature; that which is connected to, dependent on, and submitted to the Father through the power of the Spirit.
    As much as we are “like” Adam because we sin and die, “how much more” are we like Christ because of what he has already accomplished on our behalf! In this sense I think Andrew’s starting point is bang on…but the reality is that even though our spiritual lives are as they should be (in a connected to God way), our physical, mental, emotional lives are “not yet” fully glorified and we struggle along on this journey as we strive to live life and for Christ.

  2. : ) sorry Andrew… I was wondering if I should have put some explanation with that.
    Your comment about doing and being what God made us to do and be triggered Ephesians 4 in my mind. It is a picture of a body working together in all of it’s parts… with Christ as the authority and source of identity. Each part does different things… but the point is the whole collaboration. When everything is working together according to its calling, then amazing things happen. But it requires each part leading a life according to its calling.

  3. “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all… And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature humanity, to the measure of the stature of fullness of Christ…” – Paul, Ephesians 4

  4. You know, I agree with you Ken. We do need to do a perseverence and a run type of a deal. At times that means pushing, but shouldn’t it also be something that we enjoy doing? After all, the running races are all in different varied sorts from sprinting through marathons, even speed walking. Each person is running the type of race they were best designe to run. Lets be honest, sprinters simply are not distance runners and vice versa. It is not even a matter of wishing. These people simply were made to run certain types of races. In that regard, I like Kiekgaard’s idea of morality as it relates to Christianity. Egotistical, Moral and Religious are the three levels of morality. Religious is not just doing what is right, but doing what God commands, and for some that will be very risky. It might break boundaries and cross moral borders we have constructed, such as sacrificing ones son like Abraham almost did. In this I find comfort over the fact that we are not all made to run the same type of race, nor run at the same speeds and god may call us to compete in very different locations which other people might have to adjust to. So yes, there is a goal, a prize and a need for endurance, but I still feel that it falls in the category of things that each person is made to do first a foremost.

  5. Andrew! Great to hear from you from around the other end of the world. I really appreciate your comments… and I think you are absolutely right in terms of the “already” part of “already/not yet”. Our true identity is Christ… being created by him and for him as a reflection of him. But there is some truth to the “pressing on” idea… pressing on towards the prize. Endurance is an important part of what it means to embrace the Christian life.
    Freedom and slavery to Christ must somehow be united in a paradox.

  6. I think that life is meant to be lived. I know that is a strange way to begin, but I think it is necessary. I agree with Paul at a certain level, but I have come to really find that I struggle with the imagery of force and fighting a lot. Why, if we are made in the image of God and Jesus has restored that image through his death, is life not going to be best lived out by doing what we would be our passions and desires? We always speak of the need to force ourselves to be Christians. Maybe being a Christian is actually being who you were made to be. Comfort zones are there, not to be ignored and forced, but to tell you where you are made to fit in? Maybe, just maybe, God made you to love in a certain way and would like you to do it.
    I dont mean to sound sarcastic, but I have been experiencing the Ethiopian Orthodox religion for the last week and a half and as much as I am aware that they know what it means to ‘be’ Christian, it all seems very forced and ordered and structured. Where is the Freedom Christ offers? That is the question I have from this.
    So what do I think? I think that life is a journey wherein our lives are called ever onward by Him who made us so we are simultaneously experimenting to discover the direction of the calling, but also describing the nature of it.

  7. “Just keep swimming swimming swimming.” – Dora the fish from Finding Nemo. Paul, that’s a good image… It takes effort on our part to live like Jesus, but it is also our life and what we must do. A fish is a fish because it keeps swimming. A fish that doesn’t swim just somehow doesn’t continue being a fish! đŸ™‚

  8. In response to Miller’s comments, I like to think of life a little like a fish swimming upstream. The only way it moves forward is by moving back and forth, side to side…from left to right. If the banks of a river represent living like Jesus and living for self, respectively, and upstream is our hope of everlasting life with Jesus and downstream is the result of a life not lived for Jesus, then it is natural for us to move from side to side as we journey toward our goal.
    Not a great illustration, I know, as it fails at many levels if taken too far. However, as we live here on earth the reality is that we remain human (perhaps to keep us humble and dependent?), but if we stop swimming there is only one direction for our lives…we must keep swimming.

  9. Miller… Absolutely fantastic to connect with you this evening! Although the grease the cod was sitting in is not sitting in me all that well. Hey, we’ll have to make sure we keep that connecting as you transition this next month. Great comment too, by the way. I’m thinking about it quite a bit right now… and not sure exactly how to respond. Really good stuff.

  10. It’s that “supposed to be” bit that’s got me all hung up. I think the reality is that we’re left seeking how to live like Jesus because none of us get to the point where we have it all figured out. So often just when I’m about to lay claim to the descriptive life, and think that I’m fully living for Jesus, something comes up and I realize that I’m still living for me. At that point I’m left trying to figure out how to live like Jesus. Seems after twenty something years I’m still trying to figure out how to live like Jesus.
    Is that the way it’s supposed to be? I don’t know. I only know that’s the way it is.

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