I’m a Zen Christian

If more Christians examined their faith through the lens of humility and provisionality and were willing to learn not just from each other but also from those not like them then we’d have a strong religion based on faith not security and control. Most importantly, it wouldn’t be some weak, strident fundamentalism or milquetoast relativism. I believe God teaches us principally through those who challenge us.

I received this from a friend today.

FOUR ATTITUDES

Attitudes we need to have “on” duty in order to be willing to be changed

  1. Present my body as a living sacrifice. I must be willing to offer myself to God and to allow His Holy Spirit to search me and expose whatever He wants.
    (See Romans 12:1; Psalm 19:12; 139: 23, 24)
  2. Deny myself by being willing to relinquish or surrender to the Lord any thought, emotion, desire, or behavior that is not of faith or contrary to what He would want. (See Luke 9: 23, 24)
  3. Obey God’s will. Ask God to empower me to get up and do in action what He has asked me to do. (See James 1:22; 4:17)
  4. Take every thought captive. Being willing to examine my own thoughts and, if they are not of faith, let God take them and replace them with His thoughts. (See Isaiah 55:8, 9; Romans 14:23; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8)

Daily Commitment Prayer for the Four Attitudes

I love You, Lord, with all my heart, will and soul. I pray my actions today will show and prove my love for You. I praise you, Father, for who You are and thank You for the situations You bring to my life because I know You have allowed them for my learning and my growth, so I might come to intimately know You better and be more conformed into Your image.

I choose to present my body as a living sacrifice. I ask You to be in control of my entire lifestyle. I choose to set aside my own thoughts, emotions, and desires and to listen to and follow only Your Word, no matter what You tell me to do because I know You love me and I am precious in Your sight.

I know, Lord, that You will never leave me nor forsake me. So I choose to do Your will, Your pleasure, above my own at all cost, for You are my life.

I choose to allow You to search my heart and my soul, and expose any sin, any barriers that have quenched Your Spirit and separated me from You. Show me any self-centeredness ( anger, bitterness, criticalness, fears, hurts, pride, or unforgiveness) that has prevented me from being filled with Your life to give to others. Shine Your Holy Spirit’s light on any root causes for these things, so that I might be rid of them forever. Thank You, Lord, for changing me. Thank You for continually transforming my mind so that I reflect Jesus more and more.

My life is in Your hand, Lord. I look forward to tackling the challenges of this day with You by my side and in my heart. I pray that this will be a good day with good things done. Please make me an extension of Your love and life to others. I want to lay all my plans for today at Your feet and ask only that You guide me into Your master plan for my life.

I absolutely believe that serious Christians have the Four Attitudes. I myself try to live these principles that require me to literally be a Muslim, one who surrenders to God. So I am a Muslim in faith because I believe in Jesus and commit to be his disciple. I’m sure Christians of all stripes would agree with these attitudes. (I’d bet Zen Bhuddists would agree if you replace God with the Universe! That’s why I like Zen so much.) A Zen Christian would tend to develop the four attitudes by denying self and listening for the quiet voice of God. It’s how I found my way to these attitudes when I was younger in faith.

However, I have mixed feelings about the four attitudes because instead of a search for God through faith it often becomes a surrender to a God known through human doctrine and dogma. This is especially true of #4. I remember one incident being told by some Church of Christ cats that I was arrogant and didn’t love Jesus because I didn’t submit to their understanding of the Bible, Jesus, etc. (Ironically, that’s how I found how much I really did love Jesus.) People erect idols of their faith by making doctrine and dogma unalterable truths, forgetting that faith is a human step into the unknown, into mystery, beyond our limits. The conundrum of faith for me is that I believe with all my heart, but I can walk away from beliefs if God tells me to. After all, the point is to find God not prove one’s beliefs to be correct or superior. That for me is living Attitude #4.

If more Christians examined their faith through the lens of humility and provisionality and were willing to learn not just from each other but also from those not like them then we’d have a strong religion based on faith not security and control. Most importantly, it wouldn’t be some weak, strident fundamentalism or milquetoast relativism. I believe God teaches us principally through those who challenge us.

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