more or less
ive been thinking about this whole ‘less of me more of jesus’ thing and as i was reading colossians today i realized something. somehow we have turned the gospel inside out.
consider this for a moment. according to paul what is true of christ is also true of those in him. he says this repeatedly in a variety of ways:
2:6 as you received christ jesus the lord so walk in him
2:11 in him you were circumcised…
2:12 having been buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of god…
2:13 you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh god made alive together with him…
2:20 if with christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world – why as if you were still alive in the world do you submit to regulations…?
3:1 if then you have been raised with christ seek the things that are above where christ is seated at the right hand of god.
3:3 for you have died and your life is hidden with christ in god…
3:4 when christ who is your life appears you also will appear with him…
if paul is right then we are in christ and he is in us and so far you are prolly nodding and thinking: ok…..yeah…..so?
is christ a patriotic nationalist who stands up when the national anthem is played and covers his heart pledging allegiance to the united states of america?
is christ a concerned consumer keeping the economy stable by buying stuff?
is christ a politcally motivated moralist who favors one party over another and believes beauracracy is how peoples lives are changed?
it doesnt get much clearer than this. we have a christ who fits in and doesnt stir up trouble – a sterile puny weakling of a man who wants our love so desperately that he has given up on making us like him and decided to make himself more like us.
are you patriotic? then so is christ. he will stand by your side singing god bless america with tears in his eyes as he honors those who have fought in wars to protect this beloved country. screw the taliban. and whoever else we are at war with. we will offer them peace after we blow them all to hell.
are you a consumer? then so is christ. he will be the first one in line at the best buy on the morning of the big sale and youd better believe he has a big screen with surround sound at his pad. screw the poor. and whoever else cant afford stuff. we will give them some canned food at christmas.
are you a politically motivated moralist with a hot button agenda? then so is christ. he will vote straight ticket right alongside you and proudly wear the sticker thats says he voted. screw actually helping anyone. let washington figure it out. weve got best buy lines to stand in.
seems we have the ‘less of me more of him’ thing completely backward. and this is why the gospel isnt actually changing anyone. we have neutered christ. and while many of us recognize this we either dont care enough to do anything about it or we like it this way.
its less invasive. and far more comfortable.
and paul recognized this as well. its why he goes on ranting about putting our old self to death – along with all our old agendas and allegiances and desires. we can no longer be politically motivated american consumers bc this is in opposition to our unity with christ and the truth of the cross. our old agenda is gone and his is now in place. our old allegiances are gone and allegiance to christ is now in place. our old desires are gone and his desires are now in place.
paul said the gospel changes us into something completely different than we were before by our being renewed in knowledge after the image of our creator – and that as a result we are to do everything in the name of jesus.
yet christians continue to live as if the gospel meant anything other than a radically changed life. we pretend its all in the future. we act as if its got everything to do with our souls and spirits – but not so much our hands and pocketbooks. we chide those who become too passionate about following christ bc we dont want to deal with the reality of our laziness.
we are laodiceans. and we likes it my precious.
it would be easy to dismiss this. to think these are the words of a lunatic. to get back to the good life with jesus wanting for us all the stuff we want for ourselves. to convince ourselves the gospel is all about us and our happiness.
but its an illusion. and a costly one. one that not only costs us the abundant life jesus promised but also costs those who look to us for the gospel and instead see teary-eyed flag-waving politicians throwing pockets full of money at all the latest technological gadgets we simply must have – instead of doing what jesus is actually reported to have done.
and so in light of the state of things my prayer for the coming year is that even if it costs me all the comforts to which ive grown accustomed…..may there be less of me and more of jesus.