I have been thinking recently how living the Christian life faithfully is not so easy or simplistic as sometimes we would like to make it. Even though we are new creations in Christ there is still the ‘old’ at work in us. We are sinners and saints at the same time. We are citizens of heaven and worldly people.
Let’s take for example Jesus statement that we cannot love God and material things at the same time. I think we can and we do. It is a tension of the Christian faith that needs to be realized, admitted and even confessed.
I love God and as I recently discovered I love my material and worldly circumstances. My wife and I moved from New York to Colorado for family reasons and I found myself quite obsessed with the ‘things’ around me, most of all my muddy yard that needs to be landscaped and fenced. Day after day I look at it with some anxiety about getting it fixed up before the winter comes.
And there is much else to be concerned with as any knows who has ever moved some distance away from all the known to the mostly unknown. Things like internet and good TV. service were on the priority list. What WOULD we do if he evenings were oh so quiet?
So I began to think, ‘Hey, how can I love and trust God while at the same time loving all this stuff. And even if I don’t term it loving, well, I am certainly spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about it. So am I going against what my Lord would want of me? In some ways yes but it’s the journey I am on and Jesus knows it so well.
Think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, so in love with God and in some ways so desirous to avoid his own agony. It was the fullness of his earthly journey that brought him to the place of saying to his Father, ‘Thy will be done’.
And so it will be with us in those hard places even though one foot is stuck on earth and mired in the things of this world. We are a work of God. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a ‘real piece of work’ as the expression goes.
And if we stay with the disciplines of faith and not quit being the apprentice/disciple that Jesus calls us to be, we will love God more and more and the things of earth will grow dimmer as the old hymn suggests. I hope it will be sooner than later, for myself at least.
So as I gazed upon the mud surrounding my new home I also gave glance to a passage of scripture I read in the MESSAGE PARAPHRASE, which is a wonderful rendering of scripture by Eugene Peterson. This passage is Colossians 3:2.
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Wow, this puts life in a proper perspective. So I walked on out my deck, looked over the yet to be landscaping and thought, ‘this is nothing compared to loving God.’ I want to be thinking and praying about what Christ is up to, what he thinks about all this material stuff. And I know that he brings me back to reality. His reality. So while material things DO have some value in my life I want God to know that it’s God who I want to put FIRST.
Oops, hold the presses. My wife just informed me that we are going to have the lawn put in. Well, the dialectic of living the Christian life continues.