We can be ‘busy in God.’ We can fellowship with God in our work when Christ is our life because we agree with Him that He has come in our flesh. The incarnation – Christ in our being is a life that is lived. Not a religion that we carry about as a suit case.
Christ is not in our life because we had a worship session at the start of the day. He is in our life because He is in our life as a person and a being.
Should you happen to be observant, you may have noticed that not a few resist advances into greater closeness with God, preferring to hide in routine; to seclude themselves in church busyness and missionary work, while making recourse to ingenious references to ‘practical religion.’ These people seem happy to be ‘busy for God’ but not greatly enthused about real closeness to the person of Jesus. Mary was one who chose ‘what was better’ and who found herself under criticism from Martha. Genuine fruitfulness comes from oneness with Christ.
It’s often assumed that Martha was the practical person of the pair. The story does not say this. It’s possible that Mary was the more practical of the two and the one who knew where one needed to be positioned to be a ‘doer’ as well as a life-giver. Doing that it mostly about us - and our need to be earning our self-worth - is never the river of spirit and life that a person whose state of being is union with Christ is a river of spirit and life. Apart from this, these efforts can be misguided as was the case with Martha. She insisted on making sandwiches Jesus had not asked for. Jesus’ meal was clearly His imparting of life.
YOU CAN HAVE MY STUFF BUT I WILL KEEP ME FOR MYSELF
I have known rich folks who are happy to donate their means to the cause but who are not into discipleship in any real way.
Some invest effort in resisting advances into revival and an affinity with a deeper spirituality that is actually spiritual rather than religious. Others make a religion from words, beliefs and positions while harbouring great animosity to the gifts of the Spirit. Some go almost berserk where miracles are involved, touting their rationalism about God as a more valid experience of God than the actual experience of God. Paul called this a form of godliness without power.
But Godliness is not only about power. The soil of Godliness is love and love results in incarnation, of Christ in us, woven into our being. This is where love starts. The authentic form of Godliness is sonship in spirit and in truth.
MUCH FRUIT FOLKS
There are of course practical and holy people whose life in Christ makes them fruitful in practical action for Christ. Their ministry to those in need comes with the spirit and life of Christ. But there are many who are not alive. They hide in their activism because to their heart they are safely protected from too onerous and fearful a union with a God who to them is more about rules than about love.
It was the same in Israel’s day. “So long as the cords of the covenant were not drawn tight, and God remained, so to speak, at a distance, the conflict was not very sharp, but the closer God drew near the more the human self-will of Israel asserted itself in resistance to its divine vocation. Thus the more fully God gave himself to this people, the more he forced it to be what it actually was, what we all are, in the self-willed isolation of fallen humanity from God.” (1)
BENT GOD. BENT CHRIST
We can prefer religion to union with God, because we fear the God we believe is represented by Religion. So we keep Him at arms length by continuing in religion. It’s the natural way to make religion our god. But God is not religion and Jesus Christ is not religious. Father is who as Jesus is. To see Jesus is to see Father.
When in the fullness of time, God drew so near that He was with us in person, religion rose up and Killed Life before it could become a threat to vested interests, human prerogative and self-entitlement. When we oppose life in arraigning ourselves in opposition to a genuine oneness with a real Christ, we would do well to recognise what spirit we are of and adopt a more authentic view of Godliness than the view we already have.
(1) Thomas Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, p.28.