Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why as the body of Christ don't we act more like Him?

      I was sitting in the Gathering space at church drinking coffee and talking with friends when I see one of the frequent attendees of our community supper walk into the church. This person (I will call A) is very nice and loves to talk to people. A sat down next to a couple of members from our church. (I will call B and C) at one of the tables and said hi. B and C just got up and moved to another table without saying a word. This isn't the first time I have seen things like this happen from these 2, as well as from a few others in the church. So I have to ask the question, Why as the body of Christ, don't we act more like Him?

      You don't have to look very far to find out why I feel this question should be asked. Can you imagine Jesus walking through streets carrying a sign pointing out who God hates, or disrupting the funeral of service men? Show me in His ministry where there was rejection, discrimination, or hatred. It is disturbing to me how each different denomination installs in Christ their own biases and prejudices. George Bernard Shaw once said, " God created us in His image, and we decided to return the favor." "It's not we are called to be like Jesus, but rather Let's make Jesus look like us."

      I believe there is only one word that will answer this question, and this word is "sin." And, if you look at the letter in the middle of this word you will find the letter i. So, the center of sin is "I," and when any person or persons elevates themselves at the cost of another, that is an act of sin. I have heard some say that Jesus spoke harshly and criticized people, but these people were the religious who were so sure they were right that they condemned and abandoned those who didn't fit into their system.

      It's absolutely stunning to me how every religion, including Christianity, has been used for hatred and violence. Proud, arrogant, self righteous "I" centered sin. And, right in the middle of all this comes something so different, in the life, teaching, and ministry of Christ Jesus. Jesus says we must be born again, born of a new Spirit. That Spirit is the Spirit of God and that replaces the "I" centered sin in our lives.

      Even early Christians were twisting things to lift themselves up and to put others down, so the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Philippi. (Philippians 2:5-11 NIV)
 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,  being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

      Paul says, "Be like Jesus," have the attitude of Christ. He poured Himself out, He connected with us, identified with us. We are not supposed lift ourselves up, God will lift us up one day. Right now we are supposed to live our lives as Christ led His, so that our inner attitude will reflect in our outer actions.

       Look at what Paul says in Ephesians 4:22-24. He tells them to be renewed in the spirits of their mind and then tells them to clothe yourselves in that new self which is Christ. You ask what does that mean? It means that when people look at you, they see Jesus in the way you act, how you treat others, and what you say. Remember here Paul is talking to those who have already been saved. 

      Now Paul also writes in Romans 10:9 If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Salvation is God's great gift for us to receive, we are saved for eternity by the Grace of God. But, what about our lives now? Paul is telling these saved and baptized Christians to start acting like it, have that mind of Christ and clothe yourself in Him, so that people may see what a great God we serve. Put away that self-centered attitude and put on Jesus........ Amen


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