Friday, October 05, 2012

Losing Your Head Or Keeping Your Heart

(This is very important and relevant, although lengthy. I hope you'll give this post a look.)

Let’s say you’re about to meet President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Whoa. What do you think? How do you feel? Got something you want to say? This is your chance.

But let’s back up and give it some context.

A foundational aspect of the New Covenant is that when we receive Jesus, He actually receives us — into Himself. The rest of our days are about getting used to our life in Him, not simply our life for Him. Our being brought into Jesus actually happened when He was on the cross—we were put into Him—and reached its culmination when He rose from the dead. We were in Him on resurrection day, brand new and perfect with God. (There are all kinds of references, but check out Romans 6:1-7; Ephesians 2:6-7. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. . .”)

So think of yourself in Christ just after His resurrection. How’s your condition? Do you have any worries with God? Do you have a sin problem? Are you the black sheep of the family? No. No. And no. In Him, you’re perfect, just as He wanted. Whoa.

That’s our context.

From your happy and secure position inside of the newly resurrected Christ (maybe you’re in His chest, close to His heart), let’s say Jesus wants to stretch His legs and take a walk into Jerusalem. Where are you? You’re in Him, so you’re going along with Him. Naturally, people come running to you (I mean to Jesus), startled and thrilled to see Him up and about. And what is it that you know? Well, what just happened? What did Jesus just do over the last few days? He took responsibility for everyone’s sins and treated Himself as though He had done them, and made everybody in great condition with God, reconciled and ready for Him. And no one is counting anybody’s sins anymore. (See 2 Corinthians 5:18-21) That’s what just happened, and you know it because you were included in the whole thing.

Knowing what you know and being where you are, how are you affected by seeing people running to you, there inside Jesus? How do they look to you, knowing what you know? Do you care for them? Do you have something to tell them? How does your heart feel toward them? You know EVERYTHING—the good news!—about God and them, and you’re motivated by that knowledge and true insight, right? As you rest in Christ, how can you not be?

Here’s how.

Suddenly you see faces that you recognize in the gathering crowd, people you know and have opinions about. From the left there’s Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and—Hey!—Bill Clinton, making their way toward you, smiles lighting their faces. Approaching from the right is Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, George Bush, Dick Cheney, and—Hey!—Sarah Palin, eyes wide with glee. They’re all delighted to see you, I mean to see Jesus (which is where you are), and it seems that nothing will keep them from getting to you.

And here’s your moment.

One of two things will happen. What you know will keep you secure in the truth and love of God for the crowd, and you will speak to them and treat them accordingly. That will be amazing. Or, what you know from a worldly standpoint will induce you to jump out of Jesus and speak to them and treat them according to the wisdom of this world. You and the crowd will both suffer. You choose.

From now through early November you and I will endure a withering and worldly barrage of information and opinion as to who should govern this country, the United States of America. You’ll likely be bothered. If you care one whit, you’re going to have to choose your position: not Democrat or Republican or Independent, but your position in this world. Either you’re in Christ and see and know and feel and speak and reap from there, or in your thinking you’ve jumped Jesus and you’re in this world, with knowledge and insight in keeping with it. In either case, you will be affected.

I don’t mean that you shouldn’t vote or care or have feelings for who and what party governs. I do! I am saying that if you’re in Christ, one view is natural to you now, and one is not. If you wonder why love is elusive, I believe it is because of the position and view you choose: in Christ and from that vantage point (you’ll see people from the very heart of God and relative to the cross and resurrection), or outside of Christ (you’ll see people as they appear and behave, apart from the heart of God and unrelated to the cross and resurrection).

Here’s what the apostle Paul had to say about the effect his position in Christ had upon him:

“God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Whoa! Paul was in the affection of Christ—it had Paul—and that came through him.) And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:8-11, parentheses mine.)

If, indeed, our true vantage point is from Christ, in Christ, then that must and will cause our love to abound more and more because of what we know and what we see from Him and what He did—for the crowd. However, if we choose the limited, twisted knowledge and shallow insight of this world as our own, our love will not abound, we will not know what is best and pure, and the passing away passions of this world will have supplanted the eternal grace of what Christ provides for us every day.

If you want love that abounds, then think of your incredible place in Christ—think of your view from there—and don’t jump Jesus. His heart is yours.

- Ralph

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. . .” 2 Corinthians 5:16


  1. MaryKay Bjorgan Riley7:05 PM

    This spoke directly to me about an entirely different situation in my life than the election. Thank you for the insight. I will talk to God about this, and some folks in my life will be very happy! I have been looking with wordily eyes.

  2. Gian Erik M. Adao7:06 PM

    Thanks, Ralph Harris. It's also our senatorial elections here in the Philippines.

  3. Victoria Gaines7:06 PM

    This inspires me to keep gentle when talking about these candidates, even if my thought life has run amok at times:-) Good writing, Ralph. Good way to encourage us to behold His heart in all matters with people, whether presidential candidates or our next door neighbor.

  4. Michael Hirtzel7:07 PM

    So good man! You are right, we have to retreat to the connection of the branch to the vine, not try to feed our branch by jumping off the vine and finding outside sources that mimic real food like politics. thanks!

  5. Wow. Excellent,Ralph.