The paradox of us is that ‘Your life is not about you.’ The fixation that it is, has been obvious in the pandemic. Politicians spend their time making moves to placate the various interests. Leaders do what is best for the preservation and multiplication of life.
Self-interest can warp our mission to the poor and our ministry to the church – when our good deeds arise from a deep-seated need to demonstrate our self-worth to ourselves and others or to pay Jesus back for His cross.
WORKERS AND SLAVES
Tied to demonstrating our self-worth through our work, we limit ourselves to the role of a slave. If in ministry we restrict our ability to release rivers of spirit and life because we are tied to the role of a worker rather than a priest-king of God’s life.
‘But what does Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son’ GAL 4.30 NIV. We can belong to the Body without being the channels of spirit and life that distinguished the Kingdom of God from institutionalism.
All spirit and life as ministry comes from union with God. This union is ours when our life is based on Christ our life. Myk Habets writes following Thomas Torrance, “It is through the Spirit that Christ is made known to us and that intimate communion is maintained between Father and Son – between divinity and humanity. ‘Through the Spirit Christ is nearer to us than we are to ourselves.” In the Spirit the communion that Christ has with the other members of the trinity becomes our communion with Him, our Father and Holy Spirit.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart’. They will see God and know God because Christ is their life. Purity of heart is ours in Christ because we have the union with God that is His. In Jesus we are not divided in being or motive.
Paul urged all to live in the life not their own – the life that would make them their pure-hearted, true selves. ‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.3,4 NIV. We may be accustomed to applying this to our life in heaven. Not really. True glory is demonstrated on this earth in the body as it was with Jesus who demonstrated the glory of God and the glory of man as Christ come in the flesh.
The mystery and paradox of Godliness is that we gain our life by losing it in Christ - with the result that while our life is not about us it is about us as sons and daughters of God.
In Galatians Paul urges us to be sons of God, not workers and slaves. Jesus said, ‘Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it’ Matt 10.39 NIV.
NO POINTS HERE
This is not about becoming martyrs or doing something you hate in evangelism to gain points with God. It’s about being born again as your real self – the self that has been envisaged from the foundation of the world and the self that is you as a son of God living out your destiny as a priest of God’s life. Richard Rohr observes that we may need to give away attitudes and beliefs that we hold dear in order to be the self that become alive and a life-giver.
“Authentic Christianity is not so much a belief system as a life-and-death system that shows you how to give away your life, how to give away your love, and eventually how to give away your death. Basically, how to give away—and in doing so, to connect with the world, with all other creatures, and with God.” (1)
We can live a Christian life as a phantom of ourselves. Then again we can live an uncontrived life as sons of God in spirit and in truth. Hidden in Christ we are revealed as ourselves. It’s not about the ‘Adam you.’ It’s about Christ in you.
THE WHY OF THE GIFTS
To live in truth is to live in life. All spiritual gifts, all healing miracles have the purpose of advertising this truth. Gifts of the Spirit and the healing of limbs and eyes disconnected from the core of Kingdom life – union with God are not much better than a novel distraction.
Baxster Kruger writes, “Jesus Christ was sent to find us and bring us home. And he did just that. He drew us within the circle. From this point on we must learn to think about who we are, not what we can be one day. Here in Jesus Christ we must re-think everything we thought we knew about ourselves and others, for he has done it. He has given us a place in the great dance. This is not something that we make true. It is the truth.” There’s more to living in the truth than reciting scriptures about ‘the one loaf’.