Lately I’ve been internalizing how to cope with knowing who I am in Christ, and still being part of this world. It seems like a silly notion to be confused about this kind of thing, but my mind wanders to a place where rest can truly be found. I’m caught in a sort of middle ground between my future and my past. I was lost and destined for eternal wrath, and now I am found and destined to eternal love… but I am still here. I have to wait for what is coming, and sometimes the waiting is agony.
So the question arises: to be, or not to be? It seems like there is a logical answer, that I should just be, but it requires way more digging into the subject. What I imagine is that if I were ‘to be’ then I would live my life as Christ lived, always doing as the Father wills, gentle and humble, and always out of love for those called to God. But it’s not that easy to just be. My flesh wants to work for my salvation, and even to please God.
I find myself not being.. but doing.. at least in my head. I feel like I owe something to God because of what He has given to me, even though the Bible says that He offers us a free gift. I’ve never been very good at accepting gifts. Most of the time people get angry with me because I don’t show that much enthusiasm. It’s not that I don’t like what I’ve been given, I’m just not good at showing it. It’s different when it comes to God.
I am excited, and I am happy about this gift He has given, but His gift is different. He hasn’t given me a cool kitchen gadget.. He’s given me eternal life. How can I just sit here, smile, and say thank you? So, as a person who seemingly cannot ‘just be’ I am constantly on the move, trying to fulfill the great commandment of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. All is for others, living to please God by my actions towards His goal.
16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” – Luke 8
Here’s the deal: God is sovereign, He doesn’t need me to complete His goals. He can do it whether I try to help or not. It’s not that I have to help… but that I get to help. Because of His sovereignty, all that will be His will be His no matter what I’m doing.. or anyone else for that matter. The change inside of me because of what He has done is not something I can easily hide. The longer I know my Savior and Lord the more I become like Him. He changes me and uses me in the ways that He made me to share the Gospel, just as I am.
Just before Christ died on the cross He said, “It is finished”. He didn’t say something about needing help to finish up. His life on earth was for a singular purpose: to save the lost by way of a perfect, unblemished sacrifice. By dying, Jesus fulfilled God’s requirement for an atonement if accepted on the part of those He gifts. By saying we need to help is revealing that we don’t think Christ was sufficient. We believe we must step out of our natural selves to push others towards Christ.
This is obviously not the notion God wants me to have towards the gifts He gives. He is perfect, all powerful, and loving. He loves me in the same way I love my son: unconditionally, and for who I am. When He looks at me He sees Christ’s righteousness, because I have been covered by His sacrifice. He sees the person He created with a specific skill set and personality, the things He desired for me to have to perform the work set apart for me. Therefor I have no need to prove myself, though I want to please my Heavenly Father, just as my son desires to please me.
I recently heard a sermon explanation for the way God loves us just as He loves Christ. This pastor wanted to adopt a child, and already had one of his own. He had to appear before a judge who asked him a question: “Will you be able to give the same love to this child as you do to the child that you bore?”. His answer was emphatically, “Yes”. It was at hearing this explanation that I finally realized how God loves me.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” – Ephesians 1:3-11
As hard as I try, there is nothing I can do to un-adopt myself from the inheritance God gives me. In that same respect, there is nothing I can do to make my standing more pleasing than anyone else’s. So I must conclude that I am to be. I am to live my life, as Christ lived: humble, loving, and standing firm on God’s promises, not bending for the world when tempted. I must be ready to go and do whatever God calls me to, and I must not force myself on others because Christ never forced anyone to repent.
It’s really quite simple when you stand back and look. If God wants me to share the Gospel, those people will come into my life at just the right moment, asking just the right questions. I have witnessed this happening, and when God brings those people to you, it is a magical moment when your heart can be laid bare because the person listening is actually interested – God has appointed them for such a time as that. It is not my agenda, but His. I am a willing vessel, ready and waiting… to be.
“15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3