Monday, June 14, 2010

The Middle Voice

Truth is easy to recognize. Sometimes I wrestle with it before it settles into my soul and becomes part of the fabric of my life, but other times I hear it, and immediately recognize it, slapping my hand to my forehead and saying, "Of course!" because I've always known it but didn't have a way to classify it.

That's how I feel at my church. Most Sundays, my pastor speaks, and instead of being a revolutionary idea, it descends on me as simple truth that I immediately recognize and comprehend, and it offers such peace and joy to finally understand a piece of the puzzle that I didn't have words for before. After spending most of my life sitting in church learning concepts that felt heavy-handed and difficult to really understand and walk out, this new way is a weekly revelation in how simple and exciting faith can be.

He talked about the middle voice as an alternative to the active or the passive way of being a Christian. "When I became a Christian," he said, "It was all about action. I read my Bible an hour a day, I studied hard so I could grow, I served everywhere. I worked to be close to God as I learned that was the way to be a Christian. Then I joined the Vineyard church, and became very passive. Everything was God and I didn't have to do anything. I turned away from all activity and focused on what God was doing. But now I'm understanding there is another way; a middle ground."

He called that middle ground the middle voice: where we listen to God and respond. It's a mix of active and passive, but it's all led by God. We are not in control, but he is, and if we will listen and respond to what is specifically asked of us, we will live in peace and joy, which is how we were intended to function.

My pastor made an interesting observation about Jesus, saying that Jesus was our model for this kind of life. When the Romans asked what authority he was under, he responded that he did what the father asked him to do. Perhaps Jesus didn't come to earth with the understanding that he was the second member of the trinity and completely divine; possibly he came to listen to his father and put his hand to what God was doing. It was just a supposition, but one that gave me a new perspective on Jesus, and that's always something that I appreciate.

I've been adjusting my life toward the middle voice for several years now, and have never felt closer to God, and more spiritually free of all of the mumbo-jumbo I learned in the past. I just didn't have a name for it, and now I do. It's not about anything big and flashy, but it boils down to Love God, Love Others. Now I can add the middle voice as a way to walk out those four simple words. All I have to do is listen to God, and respond when I'm moved to action. So simple, and so life changing.


  1. I miss church...sounds like a good week!

  2. It was really good, Cortney! Too bad you'll miss homegroup too, but you'll be in Europe so I don't think it's too much of a hardship for you to miss... :)

  3. This is exactly what I have been studying the past week! Love God, Love Others! I've been reading a book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan and God has been convicting me in so many areas. It hurts, but is so worth knowing where I need to grow!

  4. Thanks for sharing, Erin! I'll have to check out that book. Our church has absolutely revolutionized my ideas of faith and given me such a fresh perspective on God. I love it!