I figure that if half of the folks reading my blog say “amen!”, and the other half say “oh my!”, then I’m right where God wants me.
The consternation and angst – in blogs, Facebook comments, podcasts and the like – generated by this series have convinced me that what I said needed saying.
My point is simple, and 100% Biblical:
I go, do and obey because of who I am in Christ. It is His life in me, expressed through me.
But here’s the kicker: If I do not “do”or obey as Christ commands, then the life of Christ in me is a lie – at least in those areas where I choose to disobey or stay trapped in my own sensibilities.
Why that is now so controversial, and dismissively called legalism rather than authentic life, is evidence of how far we have to go to restore health among God’s people today.
We all deal with lies in our lives. The issue is not perfection, but how we deal with our imperfection. And where my actions do not reflect Christ, there I need to seek the authentic life of Christ.
Beyond specific areas in my life, if my life by and large is not showing any fruit of obedience – but is simply me and my own sensibilities with a Jesus candy coating on top – then I have a really big problem.
Jesus then becomes just a rationalization for my own self – even if it is my better self.
Relationship, transformation, holiness, obedience, going and doing: In Christ (and not some Jesus of my own creation), there should be no tension or contradiction between those aspects of a believer’s life, because if Christ is all, then He is all that and more.
You see, I enjoy a vibrant relationship with Jesus. And because of it, I also obey Him and do what He commands.
In fact, if His life in me is authentic, I can’t help but go, do and obey.
Where I fall short, I don’t beat myself up. Rather, I view that as an indication of an area in me where I need to let His life transform me.
Anyone who calls this “legalism” is either being disingenuous, or else is so spiritually unhealthy that they can’t see past their reaction to past hurts.
Legalists and many fundamentalists mistakenly think “being” comes from obeying and “doing”.
Libertines and mystics mistakenly think “being” transcends obeying and “doing”.
Real life in Christ, however, is Jesus in me and through me – being and obeying and doing.
And if that’s religion, then so be it (no pun intended).
On this I stand firm and unmoved.
If all this seems like a contradiction, then I can only urge you to examine your own beliefs to find the source of the disconnect.
So let the bloggers, podcasters, and voices of post-modernity rage.
In the meantime, I’ll just continue enjoying Jesus – my relationship and life in Him – and all the wonderful things He bids me to go and do.
I’ll feel His presence. I’ll pursue His holiness. I’ll go and minister His love and His truth. I’ll see the captives set free, lives transformed, nations changed.
I’ll joyfully serve His church while He gives me the breath to do so, and enjoy kicking down the gates of hell along the way.
And I’ll continue to rejoice as I see His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Ain’t authentic life grand? ;-)