Psalm 107:1–16; Isaiah 60:15–22; John 8:12–20
In the US, Christians as a whole (versus individually), are disliked (if not hated), forbidden (i.e., closed-minded, intolerant, bigoted, prejudiced, etc.), and culturally abandoned (granted, much of that is based upon Christians running for the “holy” hills and their church buildings). We are the modern Israel (insofar as Isaiah), which is not a good thing…at all.
You might well be tempted to say “they” are the problem, but were we honest with ourselves, we are the problem. “Let them be one”, “known by their love”, “patient”, “kind”, “generous”…we’re not good at it. We’ve actually been pretty awful, in fact, and that’s just to each other. This doesn’t include non-Christians.
This is not a let’s beat ourselves up. It is a reflection of our fallen nature. That doesn’t excuse us from the pursuit of holiness. We may be muddy, dirty, bloody, cranky, angry, depressed, grieving, sad, or even happy and joy-filled. We are still to pursue holiness.
The Prince of Peace is a mighty title. Lord of Lords is mightier still. Yet, peace is not our governor. We are not at peace, whether it be ourselves or each other.
Looking at too much of the conversations between Christians, the light of the World is not the light of our lives. We look to governments and politicians—not God—to guide our way. The Lord as our everlasting light? That is as it is supposed to be. It isn’t, however, as it is.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they didn’t know him and that (by extension) they didn’t know the Father. Those are harsh words for people who firmly claimed to be God’s treasured possession. As we look at the list of “Christian” characteristics, we should start to question whether we know Jesus, either.
In Eastern traditions of varying kinds, there is an intent called, one of unknowing. The basic concept is to “empty” oneself. As many Christian theologians point out, though, if you empty yourself, something will fill the void.
For Christians, perhaps, a related concept would be the “breaking” of self. By “breaking” who we were, we then give ourselves the freedom to be remade into the likeness of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. On the surface, they may appear similar, but the inner working of the Holy Spirit is uniquely Christian.
- What is one of the characteristics of “Christian” that you struggle hardest with? Why do you think that is?
- It can be hard to ask, do we really know Jesus? Why is important to regularly ask that question?
- What is one area of “self” that has been broken in you and that the Holy Spirit has made new?
Lord Jesus, please be the Lord of our hearts. Guide us. Lead us into and through the pursuit of holiness so that we may become more like you. Amen