Sunday, January 22, 2017

Is this the hardest balance to strike? Two ways you can miss the heart of Christ

In our journey out of the wilderness of legalism and into the promised land of grace, we often miss the heart of God. At first, in the wilderness, we thought that God was after our good works and service to Him. We strove mightily for Christ, not out of love, but a sense of duty. This was not wrong per se but service without love is nothing (as Paul so forcefully mentions in 1 Cor 13). And if you look at Christ, all He did was with extreme love. He never looked at someone as an ‘asset’ to be won over or as a potential ‘sales target’ like many in the ministry do today.

We miss the heart of God in two ways. (Today's reading, Matthew 8,9)

1) We miss the heart of Christ when we don’t let Him serve us

When we decide to follow Christ, we are thrust into the service and the cause. It’s an adventure destined to fail since we haven’t learned yet to receive His love or begun to rest in His grace.

You miss the heart of Christ when you fail to see He is both able and willing to heal you, liberate you from age-old burdens, deliver you from every kind of oppression (how many are caused by demons!), and establish you in mercy being assured your sins are forgiven and you are a son or daughter of Christ. These were the works of Christ! These very actions, was the Gospel! (Many today think the Gospel is a neat and tidy story of accepting correct, theological doctrines. Pfa!)

The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. Your sins are forgiven. Your diseases, healed. You are redeemed! No longer are you lost, but you are found and in Him you are now what you are, what you were meant for! A daughter and son of the Eternal One, forever blessed, forever loved, forever glorified.

We miss God’s heart when we think we need to serve Him. He sees us as His dearly beloved children and not slaves, ready to only Hear and Obey. He wants you instead to drink deeply from His love and joy and rest.

Make it a point to start seeking His love. His love is better than life itself! Let Him heal you. Let Him love you. Let Him give you rest and assure you. Let Him bless you.

2) We miss the heart of Christ when we seek the success of the world

All this talk of how God wants to bless is so needed in the church today. At the same time, I understand those whose hairs bristle. I understand, but I do not agree. We need to understand that Christ came to serve and not to be served. We need to know Jesus wants a better life for you… forget, better! He says He wants us to have Abundant Life. He is the Life! So this life we seek does not mean it is a life of yachts and supermansions but of great fruit of the Spirit, of joy, of peace, righteousness and above all of love; and yet at the same time, leave no room for doubt, poverty and disease and oppression of any kind are enemies we as God’s people and Kingdom must fight in our lives and in the world.

One of the growing pains of discovering the grace of God is that we start to measure the ‘betterness’ of our lives like the world would. And so we start to naturally want to hang out with the successful people in life by the world’s standards; the good looking, the influential, the leaders, the popular, the rich, the people who seem to have it together and have it all.

I can’t tell you how much this happens at church! I remember once a certain man, I will call Aaron came to church. He was about 50 years or old, was definitely very well educated and highly intelligent, but was fraught with paranoia and thought the government was out to get him because he wrote some articles against evolution. His glasses were held together by scotch tape, his clothes in tatters, but his Bible was worn out. He said he used to be an engineer living abroad and worked for intelligence agencies and wouldn’t even tell me what part of town he lived in for fear of being tracked. You get the picture.

But I easily discerned Christ in this man and sensed he was genuine. Doubtless. though he suffered from sort of psychological trauma and I think there was truth in some of his stories. The rest of the people at this church struggled to deal with Aaron. They shunned and avoided and tried to contain the man; all the better when Aaron’s visit to the church became less frequent, till he simply disappeared.

I tried to the help Aaron in the way I could. I listened and lunched with him often but our meeting seemed to go nowhere. But Aaron was very glad and grateful for it. These were the days I did not yet know about how to use the power I had as a believer (and still have so much to learn)! I believe now he was tormented by unhealed wounds and traumas and a handful of demonic oppression.

As the days passed, I began to wonder. Why did I always attract this type of crowd? Why couldn’t I be friends with the leaders, the movers and shakers, the popular? It seemed I was always stuck with awkward friendships and the company of outcasts!

And I now realize… Hey! This is exactly the crowd Jesus hung out with! He hung out with the despicable, unwanted, unclean, undesirables of the land! It was His heart from the beginning – He didn’t seek out the movers and shakers, but those whose lives were broken and shattered. Sometimes he dined with VIP’s, Himself being considered one, but it was always an awkward and often confrontational affair.

Photo Aaron Burden/unsplash, modified by DR
Yes God wants to give you abundant Life. That’s why His Son died on a cross! His life-blood seeped down and made the earth muddy with His blood. For you and I, and each one to ever be. But now that you are sons and daughters of Christ, wake up to who you are! He who was not after worldly wealth and glory, He was after the eternal and unshakeable glory in His lost ones, the broken sheep of this world. This is not intended to produce guilt; but just perhaps redirection of our efforts. 

We need to get in the business of sowing life, reaping life, being both blessed and blessing. The heart of God is large enough for both.

Have you miss His heart for you today?

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David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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