When was the last time you had your reflexes tested?
When you go to the doctor they take a nice little hammer thing and smack you. Even if they just tap you on the knee you usually want to punch him them in the face. Not that it really hurts, it’s just a reflex, right?
So, what is a reflex? In combining the best definitions I’ve seen it’s an “involuntary natural response to stimuli.”
I love the phenomenon of the reflex. It really shows you what you’re made of!
When you scare somebody, and I mean you scare somebody good, like jumping out of a closet with a plastic knife in the middle of the night when they were just about ready to collapse into their hotel bed… man, I love that.
The responses from individuals in that particular setting are as numerous as burger joints in an ever ‘expanding’ US of A!
- You’ll see tiny little females ball up their fists and go at you like a rabid wolverine.
- You’ll see big strapping men cower in a very pansy, yet Heinemann, like way and shriek like little girls.
- You’ll see some people stand there with their legs frozen and their eyes bulging out of their head, twisting at the torso trying to run, but those legs just won’t do anything.
- You’ll hear Godly people just getting home from church use some… er, colorful language.
The response doesn’t really matter, if you’re the victim it’s never a good thing. But, if you are the scare perpetrator… It’s awesome!
That knee-jerk response, that instinctual behavior, that reflex; it really shows us what’s going on inside. When we don’t have time to think about it, orchestrate it, or playact we really find out what is in our head and heart.
It reminds me of something Mark Batterson says in his book called Primal: “In my experience its much easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one. Anyone can put on an act. But your reactions reveal what is really in your heart. And if you love God with all your heart you won’t just act like it. You’ll react like it.”
The reflex is the great outer of the hypocrite. We may put on a pretty good show, but when we come into financial distress, relational difficulty, or almost anything that life seems to hand out on a regular basis, we get squeezed and what comes out is just what comes out. It is what it is.
That’s why it’s so important that we don’t focus on keeping up appearances. What we need to really invest in are the core integrity issues of the faith. We don’t want to look good, we want to be on the road to becoming good because of what Jesus Christ has done and is doing in our lives.
Sometimes I worry that our message of grace has gone so far that we don’t expect people to conform any longer to the image of Christ. In fact, we are so full of Grace that we use God’s forgiveness and Jesus’s sacrifice as an excuse and a license to keep being who we’ve always been. But, never forget Jesus was in the business of changing lives!
Where there used to be anger, we should start seeing the growth of patience. Where there used to be greed, we should see the blossoming flower of generosity. Where there used to be lust, we should begin to see the roots of self-control!
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
You see, you can react like Jesus, because He lives in you.
If you call yourself a Christ follower it’s important to remember that you no longer possess the right to be static. We are to be changing, improving, becoming more Christ like. We are called to Grow up!
So, it will take some time and a whole lot of effort, but we should be moving from the realm of acting like Christians to reacting like Christ followers. As we grow up we choose to do the right things, develop Godly disciplines and make better choices so many times that it becomes an issue of spiritual muscle memory:
- Go to church and worship God even when you don’t feel like it so that worship becomes a part of your life, not your weekend.
- Turn off the tv and log out of FaceBook to give yourself some Bible time. I know you don’t understand it all, but it’s not going to get any easier if all your freetime is spent posting that you’re bored and watching YouTube videos.
- Do somebody else some good. Volunteer at church, the crisis pregnancy center, a local school… It really doesn’t matter where. Just start living outside yourself for reasons bigger than yourself.
If you start displaying these disciplines in your life, you will be shocked just how quickly you are transformed from acting like a Christian to reacting like one.
And, there’ll be no need to punch anyone in the face.