One of the few things a religious zealot accomplishes is to reassure those he’s trying to convince that they want nothing to do with him or whatever model of Jesus he’s peddling.
We are moving into the Lenten season, the lead-up to Easter Sunday. I know you know that. Easter bunnies, dancing eggs and fake grass is the latest Walmart cash crop. It’s annoyingly commercial even for nonChristians, but it’s more fun to buy brightly-colored plastic eggs than to invest in a DVD of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. Who wants to be reminded of THAT?
No one wants to be driven to the Cross. I’ve met no one yet in the history of Always who loves being harangued about them being Hellbound.
No one seems much to want to be drawn to Christ, either. This presents a dilemma, since God left us clear directions that the only way to Him is through the Person and saving work of Jesus on the Cross and in His Resurrection.
So how do I, as a man who’s made Jesus Lord of my life, present Christ to those who don’t know Him? This morning’s quiet time involved shutting up and listening.
Here’s Paul . . .
“I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.” – Galatians 2:19-20, The Message
Ah. There it is. “My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God.”
MY EGO IS NO LONGER CENTRAL.
Now, stop. Relax. You’re going to have to choose for yourself. All I’ll say here is that in counseling others, usually in a business and professional setting, I make this statement.
Without a healthy ego, little of worth gets done. It’s okay to have an ego–but it had better not have you.
I know you’ve had someone sincerely Christ’s overdo it in trying to ‘get you saved’. It’s messy, isn’t it? It’s also dangerous; the tendency of the hearer is to conveniently toss both messenger and message out the nearest window.
As a young Christian, I tried keeping rules, too. I didn’t know any better. “My Church won’t let me” worked for awhile. Soon, though, I needed to quit hiding behind that and decide who – or Whose – I really wanted to be.
As we step across the threshold from the popular love of Valentine’s Day into the season of powerful love that changes lives and homes and destinies, I know of no plainer nor stronger position than these words from Paul:
“I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me.”
Simple, right? Just keep laying my ego, my desire to be liked and appreciated, at Jesus’s feet. Let Him be free to do in and through me whatever He knows is best in order to make His Lordship winsome to others, drawing them to Himself through observing my living.
© D. Dean Boone, February 2017