I recently had the opportunity to spend time with Ted Traylor, pastor at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.
During our wide-ranging conversation, I asked Dr. Traylor what he thought was the biggest misconception American Christians had about living the Christian life.
His answer led to one of the most emotional moments of our entire time together.
In short, the misconception is believers think that, within their own power, the Christian life is something they can accomplish.
“I had to come to understand the crucified life, the surrendered life, the deeper life; it’s the Jesus life,” Dr. Traylor explained. “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live I live in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. It’s the incarnational life.
“But I’m telling you: The people I preach to still don’t get it. They think you get saved, get baptized, and then just grunt and do the best you can. You can grunt all you want to; you’re not going to get it done until you come to surrender, and the power of the Holy Spirit of God incarnates Christ through you.
“So I think the biggest misconception about living the Christian life is that they think they can live it. You can’t do it. It’s supernatural.”
Dr. Traylor then paused, as if he was pondering what the wonderful reality of a group of believers living supernatural lives would look like.
“I want [young adults] to see revival. I wish I could make it happen. But nobody could make it happen in the Jesus Movement. God in His sovereignty does that. However, you and I can have personal revival if we want it more than we want breath.
“We just want church. We don’t want Jesus. That’s our problem.”
Earlier this week, Dr. Traylor shared his secret sauce for helping visitors at Olive feel special. Here’s the link to that blog: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1584. Come back for more moments from my interview with Dr. Traylor later in the week.
Also, a video of our conversation will appear on goFBW.com later this month, and an edited version of our conversation will appear as the “Behind the Pulpit” feature in the April print edition of the Florida Baptist Witness, which will be mailed to subscribers on March 30th.
Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at kbumgarner@goFBW.com, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor