Do You Know Enough to be a “Good” Christian?

do-you-know-enough-to-be-a-good-christian

Do I Need More Research?

I have a follow-up appointment this morning. I already know what my doctor wants to talk about: my cholesterol. It’s always been high. She wants me to start medicines to reduce it.

But I’m not sure.

There are so many things I’m unsure about.

I want more information. I want to weigh the pros against the cons. I want to hear the experiences my friends have had.

When can I ever know enough? About anything?

How much do I need to know to know enough?

A lot less than I think.

What We Don’t Know

Granted, not knowing enough in certain areas can truly hurt us.

  • Working in a toxic environment
  • Stepping into an unhealthy relationship
  • Even eating contaminated lettuce in a salad

Knowledge can be power. What we don’t know can be dangerous.

But do we know enough already to be a “good” Christian? Do we know enough to absorb God’s love? To share it with others?

Yes. We do know enough already.

Remember how little the original apostles knew. They misunderstood Jesus at every turn. Not just in the little things, but in the overall picture.

Yet even with their minimal knowledge, they were still empowered to spread the gospel all around the world.

And for those who thought they already knew many things? Their “knowledge” filled them with pride.

“But this knowledge only fills people with pride. It is love that helps the church grow stronger.”
1 Corinthians 8:1(ERV)

It’s Not Just What We Know

Our own knowledge is never complete. Total understanding is a myth.

It’s WHO we know that matters the most.

That’s what I’m counting on in my year of Uncertainty for 2021. This is my theme verse:

“Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD!”
Proverbs 3:5-7 (The Message)

As followers of Christ, we can rely on who we know to to lead us into good things.

We don’t have to understand every intricate working of the kingdom in order to be children of the King.

And to have access to his treasures.

We Know Enough

While learning more is helpful (let’s never stop learning!), we already know enough to love others through God.

We know enough:

  • To help our sister
  • To mentor our child
  • To love our enemy
  • To serve our neighbor
  • To receive daily grace
  • To praise our God

We know enough to run to Jesus, to learn from him, and rest in Him.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:29 (ESV)

We don’t have to know more before we love more.

Whether we can recite all 66 books of the Bible or if we can’t find Genesis without the index, we can rest from striving to know it all. 

There is no such thing as a “good” Christian anyway. 

Knowing Christ is good enough.


Do you struggle, too, with the quest to always want more information? Share your thoughts in the comments.

revised from the archives

sharing with Grace & Truth, Lyli


On the Blog—May 2021

Here are brief summaries and links to all the posts in May 2021.

on-the-blog-2021-05



6 Books I Recommend—May 2021

“A recipe for getting more out of what you read:
Start more books. Quit most of them. Read the great ones twice.”
– James Clear

Below are 6 books I recommend from those I finished reading in May. 

[See previously recommended books here]

books-i-recommend-may-2021

Nonfiction

1. The Great Sex Rescue
The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended
by Sheila Wray Gregoire

great-sex-rescue

This book is a fantastic resource on sexuality intimacy in marriages (even though it may cause you to question other popular Christian marriage books we’ve all read). Sheila Gregoire did extensive research and compiled the data here in 13 interesting chapters, plus a valuable appendix about other books, both helpful ones and not helpful.

[My book review here of The Great Sex Rescue]

2. Dwell on These Things
A Thirty-One-Day Challenge to Talk to Yourself Like God Talks to You
by John Stange

dwell-on-these-things

I enjoyed this book about taking 31 days to speak God’s truths to yourself. I will re-read it again later with more intention, actually taking the challenge instead of just reading through the book.

[My book review here of Dwell on These Things]

3. Trust
America’s Best Chance
by Pete Buttigieg

trust-pete-buttigieg

Forget politics. This book is about Americans, in general, losing trust in each other and in our institutions. Buttigieg doesn’t necessarily offer solutions, but he sounds an alarm that distrust can be lethal. Rebuilding trust is crucial.

4. Goodbye, Things
The New Japanese Minimalism
by Fumio Sasaki

goodbye-things

Although I lean toward minimalism, this book was too extreme for me. However, the general advice seemed valid (even though there are always exceptions). Take it to whatever degree you’d like.

“When you discard something, you gain more than you lose.”

“Let go of someday. Things we don’t need now will probably never be needed.”

“Ask yourself, ‘If I were to somehow lose this, would I want to buy it again at full price?'”

Fiction

5. Home Fire
by Kamila Shamsie

home-fire

This novel is about three sibling refugees who live in London, and the three very different paths they take as they enter adulthood. It is suspenseful as it takes you down roads you don’t expect to travel.

6. Twenty-one Truths About Love
by Matthew Dicks

twenty-one-truths-about-love

I’ve never read a novel written entirely as lists. But it was fun! The plot was easy to follow along as you read the lists written by the main character, Dan, about his job as a failing bookstore owner and his wife who wants to have a baby.

Reading Now

  • Storyworthy
    Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling
    by Matthew Dicks
  • The Making of Biblical Womanhood
    How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth
    by Beth Allison Barr
  • White Awake
    An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White

    by Daniel Hill
  • How to Tell Stories to Children
    And Everyone Else Too
    by Joseph Sarosy
  • The Influential Mind
    What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others
    by Tali Sharot

What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.

My books on Goodreads
More books I recommend

sharing with Grace & Truth, Tina


Is It Easier to Love the Perfect or the Flawed?
—Grace & Truth Linkup

I’ve never sung on national TV. Nor do I ever intend to.

But when I was watching American Idol a few weeks ago, I felt like I was on the stage myself.

The contestant Hunter Metts was singing along, doing a fine job, almost to the end of his song when…he forgot the words.

He was visibly distressed.

american-idol-forgets-lyrics

He stumbled through the song until it was over. And then he broke down.

He could hardly be comforted.

The three judges of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan were all extremely gracious to him. They admitted their own mistakes through the years. They reassured him that it was normal, it was human, it was okay.

Watching Hunter stand there, in front of the world, so vulnerable, so sensitive, I couldn’t have loved him any more.

I felt incredibly connected to him in that moment. His humanity was mine, was ours. He was one of us.

I’m not sure why we fool ourselves that if we’re perfect, people will love us more.

It’s actually easier to love those more like us: flawed.

The lesson I learned from Hunter that night is that vulnerability is a gift. A gift given and a gift to receive.

I received that gift as I watched TV that night.

And I’m reminded to give the gift of my own vulnerability more often myself. (But it won’t be by singing on live TV!)

Flaws don’t have to ruin us. They just make us more human. And more connected. 

Featured Post

Paula, our featured writer this week, lays herself bare in this post.

She shares her personal story with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. And her reluctance to make it public.

“I wanted to write this piece several months ago. I was anxious and wrestled with doing so.

I was afraid of what others would think or what people from long ago would think, those who knew me before I became a new creation in Christ.”

But Paula also shares the truths that Jesus says about her.

Visit Paula’s blog, Simply Coffee and Jesus, and find encouragement for yourself, as well as reasons to love Paula. Then link up your own blog posts below!

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month; Do You Have A Story To Tell? Here’s Mine.

Have you felt vulnerable lately? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks for sharing, Paula! Here’s a button for your blog.

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1. Share 1 or 2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. (No DIY, crafts, recipes, or inappropriate articles.) All links are randomly sorted.

2. Comment on 1 or 2 other links. Grace & Truth linkup encourages community.   

3. Every host features one entry from the previous week. To be featured, include this button or link back here on your post (mandatory to be featured, but not to participate).

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Grace and Truth_Meet Hosts

We encourage you to follow our hosts on their blogs or social media.

MAREE DEE – Embracing the Unexpected
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

HEATHER HART & VALERIE RIESE – Candidly Christian
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LAUREN SPARKS
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

LISA BURGESS – Lisa notes
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


How Can I Change My Way of Thinking?

A Mind Reset

It’s a new day.

I look at my digital calendar, which works essentially as my to-do list. Many of the blocks are already full with daily things:

  • make biscuits
  • pay bills
  • take a shower
  • renew library books

I look at the things I want to add in:

  • order new grandbaby photos
  • answer blog comments
  • renew a year-delayed breakfast date
  • plus SO MUCH MORE

There aren’t enough blocks of time. I keep scrolling through the list.

My mind gets itchy. How can I fit it all in? I know I can’t.

And then I land on an item I added a few months ago. I scheduled it to show up on my list every day.

And every day I need to read it. And do it.

It says:

“I don’t have to finish today. It’s okay to never finish.”

It’s not really an item to do. It doesn’t have a time block. But as I read it every morning, I try to do it.

It resets my mind.

I need reminders like this. Things I already know, but that easily slip away.

It’s why I’m a fan of Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Philippians 4:8

Think on these things. Good things. God things.

My random thoughts need guardrails when they start wandering astray.

Dwell on These Things

Because I need little mindset changes throughout the day, I was drawn to read this new book by John Stange, Dwell on These Things: A Thirty-One-Day Challenge to Talk to Yourself Like God Talks to You.

The voices we listen to the most are our own.

What if we change what we speak to ourselves?

how-can-i-change-my-way-of-thinking-dwell-on-these-things

In the book Dwell on These Things, we get 31 positive, godly truths to repeat to ourselves. Stange gives examples from his own life as well as from scripture to accompany each truth.

We’re reminded that Jesus quoted the truths of God when he was countering the lies of Satan in the wilderness. Stange says we can do the same thing, replacing the lies we tell ourselves by talking to ourselves with the words God would use instead.

Each chapter/day begins with a truth, such as:

  • Day 1: You are loved more deeply than you realize.
  • Day 7: You can rely on God’s unconditional love.
  • Day 11: Make the most of your privilege to repent.

The middle of each chapter contains a few pages of devotional material to read.

Then each chapter concludes with the exact words to speak over yourself, like these:

  • Dwell on this (Day 1): Today I will remember that in Christ I am loved more deeply than I realize. 
  • Dwell on this (Day 7): Though people with whom I have conditional relationships may disinvite and abandon me, I can rely on God’s unconditional love today and every day.
  • Dwell on this (Day 11): Repentance isn’t terrifying; it’s a privilege that Jesus is calling me to make the most of today and every day.

This is a good book, especially if you are struggling with a lot of negative self-talk. You can thumb through the chapters to find the messages you need the most each day, or just read the book straight through.

How can I change my negative way of thinking?

By thinking on better things.


Do you need to challenge your self-talk? Share in the comments.

Related reading:

My thanks to Net Galley and WaterBrook
& Multnomah for the review copy of this book


Share Four Somethings—May 2021

Here are my “four somethings” from April. I’m sharing at Heather’s.

Plus my One Second video from last month . . . 

[click here if you can’t see the video]

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Loved

  • ONE SECOND EVERYDAY APP 

one-second-everyday-app

Many of you have asked about the One Second Everyday videos that I include here every month. Here’s the link to download the One Second Everyday app.

It’s available for both iPhone and Android. I’ve always used the free version for iPhone (it does everything I need!) but there is a pro version if you want more options.

It is VERY easy to use! If you can take a video with your phone, you can do this.

The hardest part is remembering to take a video each day (but you can choose any schedule you prefer; it doesn’t have to be daily). I usually let my videos pile up on my phone and then choose the ones I want to use after about a week or so. 

The easiest part is letting the app put all the seconds together. You don’t have to stitch the moments together yourself. The app does it for you when you’re ready, for whatever time period you choose. I choose a calendar month for my videos. 

I’ve been doing them every day (almost) since July 2015. I absolutely love looking back for 30 seconds to relive any month from the past 6 years!

Get motivated by watching this 8-minute TED talk by the creator of the one second concept.

one-second-everyday-ted-talk

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Read 

  • TWENTY-ONE TRUTHS ABOUT LOVE

I finished a fun novel this month written entirely as lists! It’s Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks.  

twenty-one-truths-about-love

The main character Dan is an obsessive list-maker, so we follow the plot by reading the lists he makes. It’s a very fun (and often funny) way to follow a story.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Treasured

  • OUR NEW GRANDSON!

My very favorite thing in May is the arrival of our newest grandson! He surprised us all by coming 2 1/2 weeks early, but we didn’t mind.

baby-grandson

baby-in-basket

He’s already met his two girl cousins, all his grandparents, and survived his first photo shoot (photo credits to April Stanley Photography, although he should be quite used to cameras by now with two photographer parents!)

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Something Ahead

  • NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCK PARTY

Our neighborhood is going to have its first Block Party in June! Although I know a few of our neighbors very well, I don’t know the rest at all. We’ve been getting to know each other better the past year through our neighborhood Facebook group, so now the time has come for an outside cookout in the cul-de-sac.

I imagine we’ll be sharing snake stories when we get together. Several of us have spotted snakes this spring and share a common dislike of finding one slithering in our yard. (I’ll share later about my botched attempt to shoot a snake last Friday as I was planting flowers.)


previous Share Four Somethings

What’s a highlight from your May? What are you looking forward to in June? Share in the comments.