looking like Jesus – not just looking, living…

****don’t forget to enter the Seventh Generation gift pack giveaway at this post here.  I’ll be picking a winner on Friday, Sept. 3!****

 

Over the past year, I’ve experienced refinement in so many areas of my life.  It’s humbling and unpleasant – yet wonderful at the same time.  I’ve been convicted of my biting attitude towards people who do not agree with my views, particularly in political and social areas.  As the Spirit of God has pointed out my lack of love and my prideful rudeness in speaking to others and about others, I’ve also noticed that I have a hard time stomaching the same attitude and behavior I see in my fellow Christians.  In the time I’ve known Christ and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit it’s been clear to me that one of the ways the Lord keeps us from our sin is by giving us a complete disgust of it.  I’m convinced this is precisely what God is doing for me.

I’m thankful, but what a prideful unloving jerk I’ve been.

I want to share a few excerpts from a book I’m currently reading.  These words really weighed heavy in my heart and I pray they will be as useful and convicting for others who follow Christ as well. 

from The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church by Gregory A. Boyd

In this first one, Boyd quotes Hauerwas and Willimon…

“The basis for the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount is not what works but rather the way God is.  Cheek-turning is not advocated as what works (it usually does not), but advocated because this is the way God is – God is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.  This is not a stratagem for getting what we want but the only manner of life available, now that, in Jesus, we have seen what God wants.  We seek reconciliation with the neighbor, not because we feel so much better afterward, but because reconciliation is what God is doing in the world through Christ.”

later Boyd writes…

What would happen if the ultimate criteria we used to assess how “successful” or “unsuccessful” our churches were was the question, are we loving as Jesus loved?  The truth of the matter is that we are only carrying out God’s will and expanding the kingdom of God to the extent that we answer that question affirmatively.  No other question, criteria, or agenda can have any meaning for kingdom-of-God devotees except insofar as it helps us respond to that question.  

and…

We are to respond to evil in a way that protects us from being defined by it and that exposes the evil as evil, thereby opening up the possibility that our “enemy” will be transformed.  Far from seeking retaliation, we seek the well-being of our “enemy.”

then Boyd says…

Conservative religious people involved in kingdom-of-the-world thinking often believe that their enemies are the liberals, the gay activists, the ACLU, the pro-choice advocates, the evolutionists, and so on.  On the opposite side, liberal religious people often think that their enemies are the fundamentalists, the gay bashers, the Christian Coalition, the antiabortionists, and so on.  Demonizing one’s enemies is part of the tit-for-tat game of Babylon, for only by doing so can we justify our animosity, if not violence, toward them.  What we have here are two different religious versions of the kingdom of the world going at each other.  If we were thinking along the lines of the kingdom of God, however, we would realize that none of the people mentioned in the above lists are people whom kingdom-of-God citizens are called to fight against.  They are, rather, people whom kingdom-of-God citizens are called to fight for.

and  ending the chapter with…

A person may win by kingdom-of-the-world standards but lose by the standards that eternally count – the standards of the kingdom of God.  We can possess all the right kingdom-of-the-world opinions on the planet and stand for all the right kingdom-of-the-world causes, but if we don’t look like Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha – sacrificing our time, energy, and resources for others – our rightness is merely religious noise.  Jesus taught that there will be many who seem to believe right things and do religious deeds in his name whom he will renounce, for they didn’t love him by loving the homeless, the hungry, the poor, and the prisoner (Matt. 7:21-23; 25:41-46; cf. Luke 6:46-49).  However right we may be, without love we are simply displaying a religious version of the world, not the kingdom of God. 

 

Such convicting words for me.  I pray the Lord will teach me to daily carry my cross to Golgotha and give me a heart to love all the unloveables.

-knittingprose

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One response to this post.

  1. I’m following you blog now…getting my act together on friends blogs. 😉

    Reply

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