This is what happened when I got woken up at 1.40am with a leg cramp. Then I couldn't get back to sleep and my brain started working. Then, at about 3.30am, I had to get up and write stuff down, which lead to this thought.
If we live an IDLE Christianity.
Entranced by an IDYLL of Christianity.
Does it lead to an IDOLATROUS Christianity?
Which lead to this.
When I was in my late teens. I had two vans, sort of. One was a poster of one of those 70's custom van's. Custom airbrushed paint job, mag wheels, big V8, chrome pipes, bucket seats, padded velour interior, state of the art sound system. A Party House on wheels.
This was my IDYLL, the kind of van I dreamed of having.
Then there was the van parked in my driveway. It was beat up, the paint looked like it had been put on with a broom. The stereo was cheap and tinny. The wiring questionable, no upholstery and two seats that were anything but, bucket. But throw in a crate of beer and it was still a party house, of sorts.
On some level, it probably had the potential to become something like the van in the poster. It was after all, a van.
The problem was, I was idle in regards to that potential. I was a lot like the man in Proverbs 19:24.
A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth.
I had at my hands a measure of ability and potential, but did nothing to gain or benefit by it.
I was quite simply, "idle".
There is a small part in an automotive gearbox, and it doesn't really do a lot. It's called an idler gear. This little gear does have a purpose. But most of the time it just sits, idle. When does this little gear come in to play? When you want to go in reverse. Manual gearboxes are called synchromesh. All of the gears have a level of engagement, they all turn together. As they are engaged, one by one they contribute to the forward motion of the vehicle.
For the little idler gear to become engaged, everything has to come to a complete stop. You have to select neutral, and then reverse. That's right, that little gear can only make the car go backwards.
For the idle Christian it can be pretty much the same. Just sitting there, unengaged. If they do need, or try to engage, things can just get slowed down.
The same can be seen in the long term unemployed. If they become accustomed to being idle, unproductive habits develop. In order to re-enter the workforce they have to be coaxed in, they have to learn new, or re-learn old habits. Sometimes to the point of completely retraining.
But what happens to the idle Christian if they don't engage? Where does that lead to?
An idle Christian life (as I define it), is one with knowledge and experience (small or little it doesn't matter) but no practise, and therefore no power. Because of a lack of power, faith and confession begin to atrophy. Disillusionment sets in, they lose their capacity to believe. Disconnection sets in. The comfort zone is settled and occupied. They have become like the person Paul spoke of in 2Tim 3:5, "having a form of godliness, but denying its power".
Now we are left with a Christian, (in name only) that is trying fill the empty God space with other things (this comes under the general heading of backsliding).
And sometimes our ideal of Christianity gets shattered. We have an expectation of people, and of Jesus. So when people don't behave as expected. When our experience doesn't match up with others. When we don't see God move.
That's when we hear those little whispers, "Has God really said?"
Anything we put in our lives, anything we place before our eyes. To replace or perhaps to shut out the empty God space in our lives. Anything we attempt to do to add meaning into our lives, when we have lost our meaningful God relationship.
That is called an idol.
Our idleness has removed us from our idyll.
We have become idolatrous.