Men’s ministry this Saturday will be painting at one of our sister’s homes in Snoqualmie. Start time is 9a; if you can join please let Jon Vannoy know: email@example.com.
This Sunday is our last week on Luke 12:22-34 and “…do not worry.” If you haven’t listened to last Sunday’s message I urge you to do so for context this week, which is about the significance of God’s giving his children the Kingdom.
If you read history, it has—eventually—the cumulative effect of revealing Christian character over the millennia. There are things Christians have always believed and not believed, done and not done. When I read or listen to Christians today, they seem out of touch with their own history and tribe. I’ve written the points below to address what I take to be blind spots.
1. The one, absolutely necessary thing that had to happen in your life for you to have an identity and a future has already happened in Christ. It’s done. Despite what the baby-boomers taught their kids—that the point of life was to achieve psycho-emotional well-being and happiness—our true problem was moral: God is holy and we are not. This is solved in Christ, who “loved us and gave himself for us” (Gal. 2:20) and who tells us we are “already clean by the word I have spoken to you” (Jn. 15:3).
2. Life in Christ is not supposed to be safe or easy. Sometimes we spend years trying to fix the inner dissonance we feel in facing emotional or physical hardship. But that “tribulation” is exactly what Jesus promised us (Jn. 16:33), and what Peter is describing when he says, “…after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:10). Americans feel guilty about not feeling happy all the time, but the fact is you cannot be an heir with Christ, destined for glory, unless you suffer with him (Rom. 8:17). Life is both glorious and miserable. Heaven waits.
3. In humility, consider others better than yourselves. Read Philippians 2. At the heart of the Christian life is a seeking of the character of Christ, which is profoundly humble and loving. Many Christians feel entitled to despise their enemies. Christ loved his enemies—without which you and I would have no hope in this world or the next. Show respect and deference! It’s much more a sign of your own character than that of the person with whom you are dealing. Besides, without character, there is no rest for our souls.
4. Your life doesn’t belong to you. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and now it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Our task is not to ask whether our own expectations are being met, but whether Christ’s expectations are being met. There’s a lot of pointless anger around unmet expectations and unsatisfied sensibilities. As Christians, we ought to be expert at finding out “what pleases the Lord” (Eph. 5:10). In any given situation, figure that out and pursue it.
Curious to know what your own list might be. Let me know! Blessings on your last bits of summer.