April 17, 2021

Jesus is so Irritating!

Am I allowed to title a blost in that way?  I mean, can I tell the Lord that He is annoying?  It's not His fault, really.  He is simply busy being the Lord of my life and, unfortunately, I don't always appreciate that living under the Good News of what He's done for me means I can't just do and be whatever I want.  Here's where He's getting under my skin (under my sin?!) this week.  And, truth be told, I am very thankful for it!

Philippians 2:6-8 says this about Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

That's really awesome, right?  He was God, but made Himself nothing so that we could be reconciled to God by His death and resurrection when we believe in Him.  That's the Gospel Christians talk about and celebrate.

But guess what Paul says to the believers in Philippi just before that, in verse 5?

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:


[crickets, or maybe an expletive if that's more your style]


I have been thinking a lot about how polarized people feel/are right now and how heavy everything seems.  As someone who often sees the value, even if just in part, of people's perspectives on both sides of an issue, it grieves me a lot to see so much posting of trite memes and sarcastic one-liners, in general, but especially by fellow believers.  It's easy and makes us feel good, but we have to call it what it is: wrong and dishonoring to our God and fellow image-bearers.

In the verses above what I read is this: Jesus had every right to be a trite meme and sarcastic one-line poster in His day!  He knows what's in the heart of man (John 2:24) and He knew His own righteousness; He knew how often people came to Him for selfish reasons and personal gain, but not to love Him. He alone in the history of mankind had the "right" to judge everyone He met.  And what did He do?

He served.  He died.

He looked over the crowds and had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

I guess in one sense, He did make a judgment about them.  But it was motivated by compassion (love) which protected Him from writing them off as a bunch of idiots.  You poor fools lost in your sin!

This is how God directed my thinking yesterday as I vacuumed my kitchen - yup, our kitchen is carpeted; it's silly! - while trying to process all the information and opinions I have encountered on social media and in the news this week in light of the evil at work in our world.  Living in the era of social media and quick access to information, no matter how true or incomplete, fuels our natural tendency to make rash judgments (not to mention fools of ourselves)!  All of us do, whether we post about it to let the world know or simply hide it in our hearts, pridefully smug.  I, too, form opinions and am quickly tempted to write off certain people or groups as hopeless at best, or unredeemable at worst.  Can you relate?  I imagine some of them may feel the same about me!


But not Christ.


The only One who could have pronounced judgment, instead made Himself the way to be rescued from it!  And Paul reminds the Philippians and those of us to walk with Jesus in 2021:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

 

What must we do with our hard, judgmental hearts when they act up? Go straight back to the primary message of the kingdom of God: repent and believe the good news!  That is the Word of God to those responding to Christ for the first time to those who have known His salvation for decades.  This is surrender to His will.

Find yourself out of step with His will, casting judgment on others?

Repent and believe the good news.


Christian, you and I have been made new!  The made-new listen to the Spirit, confess the sin to their loving Father, and remember the risen Savior and the glorious work He has done in their lives.  All this reminds us of how eager we are for others to know this freedom: from sin and also the freedom from needing to play God and decide if people are worthy or not.  He says they are!

But wait, there's more! The Lord also shows us His way and transforms us into people of compassion, people who speak life, people who reflect the light of Christ in the world, people who model their relationships with others according to the mindset of Christ.

Thank goodness He provokes us by His Spirit to get us back to Him.

Praise God with me today that Jesus is so irritating!


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