“How’s life?” someone will ask. “How are things?” “Well, you know… I’ve got this worry, I’ve got this concern, I’ve got this stress. My car’s not fast enough. My portfolio isn’t impressive enough. I couldn’t find a good parking spot at Salsarita’s and had to walk 50 feet. I can’t take that trip to Europe until next year….”
And somehow, we, the ransomed people of God, those who have been saved, resurrected from lifeless life, by and through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, somehow, the body of Christ can’t see past the end of our nose.
Somehow we’re blind to the transformative reality we’ve encountered in Jesus and we immerse ourselves in the world rather than the Kingdom.
Consider the emotion of God. The heart of God. How do you think God feels when His chosen share more political (pro- or anti-) posts on Facebook than they share anything encouraging or centered upon the Kingdom? Or when His redeemed share things that belittle? Or when His sanctified share things that are unholy? Go and look at your wall (yes, I’m still talking about FB or any other social media) and see what it reveals about you. What it reveals about who you are. What it reveals about what is important to you.
Maybe that’s not you. Ok. What do you talk to your friends about? Where do you take your conversations? Our conversations and where we lead those conversations say a great deal about where are hearts are. “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). What does your mouth say about your heart? Do you spend more time talking about the weather or Jesus? The stock market or the Kingdom? Obamacare or the God who cares?
It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you’re clucking with the chickens.
Is the glass half empty or half full?
Because for those who follow Jesus, it’s supposed to be overflowing!
Glory to God!
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Ten words. That changed everything.
In an instant, everything changed. It was all in God’s divine plan. All in His divine providence. All founded in His divine initiative.
Decades later (and especially a century later), the incarnation would be at the center of debate. There were many who questioned the validity of the Word becoming flesh. It wasn’t entirely Christ’s deity that was under scrutiny. It wasn’t solely His humanity that was doubted. It was the mental gymnastics required to accept that He was both. Divine and human. Simultaneously. Upon initial consideration, can we blame them? We have the benefit of 2000 years of theology. But the reality that Christ was 100% God and 100% human, you have to admit, is a doctrine that must be based solely upon faith. Because it makes no earthly sense.
But He was. Christ was with God in the beginning (John 1:1). And then He became (John 1:14). He became, He took on flesh, and He lived and walked and ministered among us. The incarnation is intended to blow our minds. And it should! That God was willing, that Christ was willing, to “take on the nature of a servant” and be made “in human likeness” and to become “obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:1-11) should amaze us! It is certainly designed to.
And the amazement of the incarnation must not end there. Because the wonder of it all is that Christ is “incarnate” in us (if we can use that terminology). God is revealed “in the flesh” when His people live out our calling as those who belong to Him.
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Verse 27 comes at the conclusion of an entire section of Paul’s letter to the Colossian church which centers upon the incarnation of God in Jesus. He then transitions to the incarnation of Christ, in us!
That a holy God would, through His perfect Son, reside within an unholy and imperfect people should amaze us! It is certainly designed to. Our reality as those who have been sanctified by the Spirit purposes you and I to reveal His deity in our humanity. In our divine and human nature(s). Christ is us, the hope of glory.
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Ten words. That changed everything. Ten words. That change us still.
Glory to God!
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:13-16; cf. Leviticus 11:44-45).
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
I wonder if a greater awareness of the holiness of God might equip us to be more cognizant of our own holiness? I wonder if willful, intentional contemplation of the holiness of our Father might assist us in realizing our own holy status in Christ Jesus? Certainly we are only made holy in Christ, however we are called to holy living. To a holy way of life. All of life is sacred for those who believe. The Apostle Peter is calling for conviction. He is calling for commitment. Half-hearted Christianity doesn’t cut it. “Just as He who called you is holy, be holy in all that you do.” We recognize our failings. We acknowledge we are spiritually bankrupt outside of covenant. However just as the Father is holy, we are to be holy. What if holiness were in our thoughts? What if holiness were upon our hearts? What if holiness were a viable part of our vocabulary and conversations? What if a sustainable facet of our faith was the practice of holiness?
Father we pray for an awareness of holiness. To be aware of your reality and your presence in our lives. And to be aware that we have been (and are continually) made holy in Jesus. Our hope is that we would be altogether incapable of being men and women who give little consideration to your character and nature, your purpose and our calling. Our prayer is that we would be a holy people. Light in a world of darkness. Our desire is that we would be like you. That we would reflect your holiness. That holiness would be such an integral part of who we are and so very definitive in what we reveal to the world around us that there would be no doubt as to who we are and whose we are. In the name of the Holy One in whom we place all hope, and all confidence, Amen.
Glory to God!
“Holiness is not mentioned much these days. The word tastes strange on our lips, sounds odd in casual conversations, and appears sidelined in much current Christian literature. This is surprising since in the Scriptures God is the Holy One who wills holiness for each of us. Writing to scattered pilgrims, Peter quotes an ancient text that underlines his divine imperative: ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16).” – Trevor Hudson, Discovering Our Spiritual Identity (p46)
Glory to God!