Thursday, September 04, 2008

Accidental or Intentional Growth?

The following is another article that I shared in our monthly Senior Adult newsletter, "Joyful Tidings."

The dictionary defines the word accident as follows: "an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss." Clearly none of us wakes up in the morning planning on experiencing an accident, or looking forward to having one. That’s why the dictionary defines them as undesirable and unintentional. We don’t want to have an accident—-whether it’s a collision with another vehicle or a fall we take while walking-—because we know there can be painful and costly consequences. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent all accidents, paying careful attention to our surroundings and using good judgment will help us avoid them. Engaging in risky behaviors, whether behind the wheel of an automobile or elsewhere, will certainly increase the odds of suffering an accident.

In thinking about accidents, I was reflecting on the tendency of children to offer the excuse that “it was an accident” when they have been caught doing something they shouldn’t have and something winds up being broken or damaged. They didn’t intend for the item to be damaged, but perhaps they didn’t exercise good judgment and the “accident” occurred.

In seeking to relate the idea of accidents to our spiritual lives, it struck me that many Christians somehow seem to expect or hope that they will mature in their walk with Christ “accidentally.” That is, they do little purposefully or consciously to grow in their faith and seem mystified when they fail to mature spiritually. Our growth as Christians is rarely the result of an accident. It comes as we discipline ourselves to engage in activities that will create a climate for growth—-prayer, Bible study, fellowship with others, service, and worship. Let’s purpose to be intentional rather than accidental Christians.

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