One of the most prevalent questions in the minds of many teenagers is “so what?” If presented with a great deal of information, even a tremendously beautiful view of the world, we as humans are so frequently compelled to try to figure out what to do with it all. This is why so many students will take an advanced algebra class and come home sighing to themselves and asking “when am I ever going to use this?"

And so it is true that even the best theological framework of the world means nothing at all if it isn’t followed by action. If our theology is only talk and doctrine and ideas, then it really doesn’t appeal to anyone at all. When am I ever going to use this?

So imagine the argument that I’ve presented here over the last couple of weeks. 1) God is a God who acts, who reaches down into human history and does something with us. God is the God who decided that in order to redeem humanity he needed to take on our humanity in the man Jesus Christ. God continues his action through the reigning Christ even today. 2) We have a sin problem, the looming reality of death. Our choice is almost always to serve death and carry his favor, but Jesus Christ, the God who acts, is constantly asking us to choose life in him instead. 3) One of the biggest tasks of adolescence is discovering who we are as people, so we need to sort out how our identity in Christ is the starting point of the rest of our identity, and not just a side dish. If all of that is true, then what do we actually, you know, do?

We are tempted in this question to take on too much. We are tempted (at least in my experience) to act as if our salvation was actually dependent upon what we do. We try to be better people. We try to read the Bible more. We try to do things that won’t disappoint God. All of that is great, when done for the right reasons. But when they’re done out of guilt or disappear or an attempt to get God to love us, then they fail us. God doesn’t work that way.

What we are called to do is to participate in partnership with what God is already doing. If God is a God who acts, then we ought to find where God is acting and join in. Where is God moving in Upper Saint Clair, or Bethel Park, or Mt. Lebanon, or Peter’s Township? Where is God calling us beyond our comfort zones? How do we participate with God in bringing life to the sin-dead places of the world? How can we breath life into someone who’s been bullied, or hurt, or abused? How can we work with God to see real change in our lives? How can we arrange our lives so that Christ is our primary identity? We figure out how God is at work on the soccer field or the band room or the classroom. We see what God has to say about who we are and what we do first, and then we choose to see others the same way.

We have a role to play. Theology is not just empty words and big ideas, it’s a movement. Specifically, it’s God’s movement in our world. And every day I witness a God who is desperately trying to keep our attention and invite our participation in the building of the kingdom.

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