Reconnecting with the Almighty.
I have a relative who was born in another country. A few years back, that country had a non-violent revolution, and he was allowed to return to his home country for the first time in 40 years. Although he was a naturalized American citizen, he decided to do some business in his home country. It seemed a good idea to apply for dual citizenship, and now, he is a citizen of both the U.S. and his home country.
Sometimes, it is easy to get confused with where we’re at. We get caught up in the job, the relationships, the politics and the concerns of everyday life. We are surrounded by life in our country.
You might feel discouraged with bad news from any of these fronts. Certainly, it is rare to have everything run smoothly. The pressures of life impact you and I psychologically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. If it becomes a crisis, then we seek out “real help” through some form of spirituality.
Spirituality is good, if the focus is on Christ. But, often, we are focussed on our own efforts. We pray harder and in different ways. We make a greater effort to live lives pleasing to God. We attempt to “keep our noses clean”. At first, these are honest efforts are reconnecting with the Almighty. Over time, however, we become … religious.
I mean, we become really good Christians. We obey, follow the rules, help others, pray often, read the Bible daily, and attend whatever service our church tells us to go to. We secretly tell ourselves, “I am good”. To a certain extent, this is true. After all, all of this activity keeps us from murdering, stealing, lying, cheating, and lust.
Unfortunately, it also leads us to believe we are Holy. Not Holy based on Christ’s work at the cross, but Holy because we’re “really doing it” this time. Our own hearts deceive us and tell us we’re living righteously. All the while, Jesus becomes smaller and smaller in our minds.
It’s our sinfulness masquerading as holiness. Through our own efforts, you and I might believe that we have created a strong spirituality. We have applied ourselves, made the effort, put our noses to the grindstone and have proven our worth. And to Jesus Christ, this is worthless. Because in the midst of our flesh attempting to be spiritual, we have turned spirituality into an accomplishment, something the rich young ruler would have agreed with.
Jesus didn’t come so that he could “fix” us (as if I was missing a lug nut on my wheel). He came to kill us. Read the first few chapters of Romans. Jesus is not in the business making minor alterations to the “flesh suit”, He is in the business of crucifixion and resurrection. He is in the business of Grace, Mercy, Forgiveness and Creation.
And it is HIS business, not ours. So, when tempted to think sanctification is my effort to please God, allow your sinful mind to be crucified by the Cross of Christ. The heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. In fact, we will never have an end to it in this life. But, we are not merely citizens of this world.
We are made citizens of Heaven by the broken body of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The punishment He endured at the hands of His Father has wiped away all of our aspirations to be spiritual, and replaced them with the reality that we are resurrected now, in this world in Jesus. We are no longer slaves to the devil, the world, or the flesh.
So, the next time your flesh is tempting you to become “religious” without Jesus, tell your heart, “Go to H…! I am Christ’s, and He is my righteousness, justification, and Holiness”.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen