BEYOND THE STUFF
Life is the Spirit of Christ in you and as you.
The prominence of Jesus is so ‘out there’ in the New Testament that sometime you have to wonder if the salesmen of the Christian Industry have read much of it. Is Jesus your life or is the stuff you do in God’s name your life?
Here’s a question. What is it you are actually promoting? Ponder for a moment.
The Kingdom of Heaven is not issues based. It is Jesus based. Sure, the world writhes in the grip of serious issues. There’s the civil war in Syria and its refugees. There’s war full stop. There’s the unresolved problems surrounding Israel and Palestine. There’s the undercurrent of threatened economic crisis and the sucking up of natural resource in the bid to turn them into happiness and money. There’s poverty and corruption in India and Africa, paralysis of government in the United States, bullying and muscle flexing in the Ukraine and the Crimea and a Babylon of confusion and self interest in Australian politics and government. Not to mention the scandal of sexual abuse in the Christian church. All are issues that need addressing. But in what way do we go about it?
So another question. Are you planting churches or are you planting Jesus?
The solution to a world in chaos is a seed. There’s a seed that was cast into the ground. Out of the sprouting of that seed, the resurrection of Jesus comes the tree of life, the new creation and its fruits. Fruits that multiply life itself.
Here’s the truth. When Christ your life appears you (all) shall be like Him and heaven will begin to grow and expand its influence on earth. When Christ is our life the cells in our body multiply in freshness and health to function as the organs they were made to be. The body is whole, alert and alive. When our bodies are debilitated by cancer, useless cells multiply out of control. Having no life in themselves, they leach life from the surrounding tissues, through organs into dysfunction until the host dies. Cancer is an apt metaphor of life in the flesh multiplying at random with carnal motivation and deathly effect. Such can be the obsession with church growth, networks, community and the like when they are not a function of Christ’s life as us.
A fastening onto pressing issues will not produce the life of God no matter how critical the issue may be. Jesus healed, raised, cast out demons because the life of God was in Him and He was life in person. With Jesus as our life we are His life in person multiplied. As seeds cast into the ground we grow His kingdom and not our own. Taking up his cross we multiply His resurrection life, not only in works of power but in a healed life of joy and well being that can come from the Father alone. Jesus drew people to Himself. Using us He will bring all people together in Himself when it is He who is our life rather than us trying to get Him to enhance our life.
Loneliness is a big issue. Jesus was into connection - connecting people to Himself and to the Father. We can do this when Jesus is our life. Yesterday I went to a party. The lady in charge was a lovely Christian woman with nice children. She said grace, one of those happy, religious graces that are all words and no power. ‘Bless this, bless that. Be with Jim and George..’ She said the kind of grace that was so vague and fluffy that one would not tell if Jesus responded or not. Then this morning I received an email from a man of faith. Not a sophisticated man, but a man who believes and lives in Christ’s authority.
He wrote, ‘I prayed a blessing over a Moslem man. He had instant relief from knee and calf muscle pain. As a result he was praising Jesus on the foot path outside his house in Granville. Two weeks ago I saw three people healed at a small group meeting I had never been to before.’
All Jesus’ disciples can do better than pray religious prayers and live in powerlessness and paralysis. They can do what Jesus did. And what this man did. Not because they have attained a spiritual status. But because Jesus has. His life in us is the salvation of the world.