July 18, 2011

Prisoner For Christ XVII: The Christian Road

As stated in Colossians 3:2-4 I have set my heart and mind on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. I myself realize I am transient on this plane of existence. Having lost my father 9 months ago and being 42 years old I am quite aware of my mortality having nearly lost it twice due to immoral and sinful behavior. I realize I am but a vesper or a puff of steam. Here one minute and then gone. But Jesus has allowed the righteous things that are not burned up in the fires of judgment to live on forever or the treasures that I will store up in Heaven. Through Him and only through Him is this possible. This fact is never far from my center of thinking. It is a motivator or inhibitor of action depending on whether or not said actions serve a Kingdom cause. When I am in doubt I will hesitate and pray unless left no other recourse. As I have died in Him I will also rise in Him. What a glorious promise this is. My 7 year old son said this to my mother today and there was not a dry eye in the car. “Mom-mom, when Jesus comes back, Pop-pop will come back too…and so will Teoni [our dog], and we can all be together again” Grown men that have been through the mill can cry as I was a testament to that today. “Yes Seth, someday we will all be back together again…someday.” The truth exuded from the innocence of youth. I have applied this in my life to the extent that it is now starting to manifest in my children also which is not surprising since what a person believes they pass on to their children. Even my 7 and 4 year old son know that there is nothing more important in Daddy’s life than Jesus and praying to Him either alone or with them.

I do not want suffer the wrath of God since I believe I understand how severe this might be. I chose a while ago to walk the path of the righteous since it is the only path I am comfortable walking at this point in my life. Because of passages like Colossians 3:5-11 and others like it I kill Andy every day. I have to, otherwise he gets the upper hand and the sinful nature overtakes the new man I am trying to become. Each and every one of us has problems with our sins. Plural people, sin-sssss but there is always the one sin, the entrenched one we try to deny or downplay that always causes us to stumble. For some it is sexual immorality, others impure thoughts or lust and still others putting yourself or others before God. Whatever the weakness we are called to walk in a new way not held under the sway of the sin as we have a power above it…Christ Jesus.

I find that as long as I keep Christ as the forefront of my thoughts or the things that He did in similar situations I am better off. Perfect? No. But I try…and that is the bugger of it. Sanctification is a process. Sometimes slow and sometimes erratic but it is a process. We're called not only to put off the sin and ill-motivated behaviors but we are actually called to step up to the challenge of being even better than “okay”. Just reaching the level of “not being a jerk” does not make a good Christian. We must leave the “not being a jerk” so far behind us in the rear view mirror that it is no longer visible from our new vantage point. The problem I see with many including myself (especially the first years or so after my conversion) is that I was stuck in spiritual neutral racing my engine in the parking lot of “strictly average Christian”.

The reality is (and we read it in the next verses Colossians 3:12-17) I should’ve been out on the Christian road singing Amazing Grace encouraging people to follow along as I was following the road signs to holiness or “Heaven-Next Exit”. Showing them through my righteous behaviors such as kindness, gentleness and patience that this road I am traveling is indeed “as cool as it looks”. Instead I found myself (and sometimes still do) judging others because they did not do the things the Bible said but not for lack of trying. They were not trying as hard as I was to be “good” and “doing the right thing” the way I thought they should. I became legalistic and impatient with people. “What is it with you people?!?! Why are you moving so slow, can’t you see Heaven its straight up ahead? Why wouldn’t you want to be speeding towards Jesus?” I began to realize that people move at different spiritual speeds and frankly, sometimes people miss or grind a gear accidentally. I also realized that for me sitting idle doesn’t cut it and does nothing to further the Kingdom. It just continues to allow the advance of the thugs from the dark in my rear view. It was at this point I realized I need to go at my speed but be patient with others and not force them to ramp up to speed with me. I needed to bear with them. I would’ve been like asking a turtle to sprint with the hare. I realized I need to patient before there could be any forward progress at all...for them or me.

Since I have begun to let the peace of Christ rule in me I know when to move and when to be idle. I recognize when it is time to “tromp on it” with people and when I need to "stomp on the brake" or back off so I don’t get them angry for tail-gating them constantly trying to get them to speed up. “Jesus! Jesus!!! JESUS!!!!...oh, sorry, didn’t realize I was riding your bumper....my bad.” It was about and still is about unity. Working together to find a middle ground so we can all get along. Its about Christ. If I was truly progressing in my sanctification and was as Christian as I said I was I should’ve been Christian enough to realize by behavior at the time was causing disunity. I seek first unity in my relationships and have now learned to back off. I now know that not everyone wants to read Charles Hodge's or Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology and nor do they have to. To expect others to do this is the equivalent of running people over with a steamroller.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...