Sufficiency in Christ

Why do some of us see the world so differently than many Christ followers we love and respect? My heart feels so weird, alien, set aside, different, and often lonely. God has impressed this deep longing in me to look like His Son, Jesus. Jesus’ love for me convinces me that there is no other feasible option. If Jesus is my Lord and Savior, how can I not surrender to daily follow?

Please do not misunderstand, I am not trying to say the hundreds around me are not wanting to follow Jesus. What I don’t understand is why do I see the world, and our purpose in it, so differently from so many? And why am I called to live so differently than those around me? Looking different than people who do not know Jesus makes sense to me. But why do Christ followers look so different from one another?

Some would argue, “you have the gift of poverty” or “the gift of serving.” Maybe those are gifts and maybe I have them, but I believe Jesus called us to a lifestyle of dying. To know Jesus, we surrender. To grow in Jesus, we live in a constant posture of “not our will, but His.” His word seems no nonsense to me, explaining the life He had planned for all of us as His followers. The Bible is our instruction book so isn’t this straight forward? Do what it says.

Yes, I agree, I am not good, I am not better than you. But Jesus is good and 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 explains, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

So we have this full, amazing, sufficient life in us through the Spirit of God. We can live like Jesus because our competence is from Him and not us. Apart from Jesus, none of us are good enough. Apart from Christ, we will not choose the right way. Apart from Christ, we will wander and we will fail.

We settle. We blame our cultures and justify everything. Many decisions are even haphazard, made on a whim, without prayer and without consideration. Our kids deserve this and that. We have to spend the money because of our tax bracket. We work hard. We need downtime because of everything else we committed to this week. We had to eat out four times this week because there was no time to cook. We saw the lady, sitting on the bench crying, but we had to be some where.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

– 2 Timothy 3:16-17

As children of God, we are called to read His Word and do what it says. Why is that interpreted as so radical or unusual? Why does a striving after God look so different from the masses that say they follow Him too? My mind can not wrap itself around this phenomenon. So many questions and no real answers.

Why is waste so common among believers, but my heart is so passionate against it? Sometimes it feels like people mock simplicity, terming it as “hippy” or “green living.” Get your to-go box. Haha. Don’t throw away that half eaten piece of chicken. Call it whatever, but how is it honoring to God to be so flippant with resources. I remember how convicted we were about cable. We never watched television, but we had been paying a monthly fee to have it for years. Why? What a waste of God’s resources. These are not our resources, but rather an entrustment to us from God.

What about our over-commitments and our jammed up schedules? Did we share Jesus this week? Were we around hundreds of people at school events, extra activities and social gatherings, but we were “too tired” to notice anyone around us? Did we talk about nothing and never truly listen? What is the point of all that?

Did we listen to another Jesus lover share how they experienced Christ this week? What about us? Did we share our own lessons with someone else? If not, why? What is the point of complaining about the weather, our limited resources or how busy we are? Static. Pointless noise. God stories are everywhere, but we have stopped noticing. Complacent. A wasted life. Oh, how I don’t want that life.

Someone once told me that contentment without godliness is very dangerous, often creating character traits of apathy, selfishness and laziness.

The Bible says:

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. – 1 Timothy 6:6-7

Life is temporary. Why is that such a prevalent focus in my mind, but others do not seem to think about it? I feel so odd. And how can I even talk about it? As far as I know I am not “dying” of a terminal disease and I am not yet an old lady, so it seems like my words will go unnoticed.

But yet, I feel the effects of “dying” everyday. Every day dying feels easier and harder, all at the same time. Jesus has giving me this good exceptional life, but it feels like I cannot talk about it to the majority of the people I know. How messed up is that? Again, I do not understand why our interpretations are so different. If I talk out loud, I feel misunderstood or “they” interpret me as critical or fanatical.

My life is full of miracles. I catch myself holding my breath, but why? My God is gracious and ever-present.

What if every person who takes the time to go to church on Sunday lived differently the other six days? Or used the time they would sit in church to live like Jesus for two or three hours? Can you imagine what would happen in the world if all church attendees were sold out to Jesus for an entire week? What about a year of people trusting Jesus and living a life of “dying to self” and living out what the scriptures say? Now dream about a lifestyle of an army living only for Jesus and not for themselves? Oh how the Kingdom would advance! Oh how different we would all look!

What if all those people asked questions and really listened? Oh amazing. God would be lifted higher and higher. We would know His faithfulness and His love more and more. Our decisions would be different. Our desires aligned with His desires. Our time, money and stuff would not be “ours” anymore.

Please Jesus, help all of us (the ones who go around talking about how we have surrendered our lives to follow you) to be different, alien, strange, not earthly; more like YOU. Please teach all of us to live your word in 1 John 2:15-17…..

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

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