Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Fight Worth Having

Do you like arguments? You know, a discussion seasoned with some passion?  There’s an important one going on right now about what Jesus did for us all at the cross.  That’s important, and I’ve been a part of it at times.  And I will be.  But I want to say that the risk and maybe the cost of prosecuting our particular side of the argument is often that we lose the wonder of knowing Jesus Himself; you know, Christ in you.  Him.

In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul writes that the primary battle—the big fight!—for the Christian is this: demolish, wipe out, fight off, throw away ANYTHING that threatens you from knowing God.  That is the prize that is threatened by other “stuff” or arguments.  Demolish them!

This doesn’t mean, “Trash your television!  Don’t watch March Madness or Downton Abbey or American Idol.”  It doesn’t mean, “Throw away your iPhone or Samsung.”  It doesn’t mean, “Stop talking about ‘Big Oil’ or ‘Big Government.’”  Neither does it mean, “Come to a conclusion right now! Choose a team and fight concerning exactly what Jesus did at the cross.  WE MUST WIN THE ARGUMENT NOW!  Prosecute with us!”

For you and for me, it means, “Don’t get lost.  Don’t get so caught up in debate, even over important things (maybe especially over important things), that knowing and enjoying Jesus in you, with you and for you, becomes and remains less of an anticipated thrill and solution and hope and joy than those other things.”

We write and talk about the gospel, which is the very power of God, not simply so people can be smarter and well armed in a debate.  We, who love the gospel, offer it to people because it enables and promotes in them what it does in us:  the knowing and the loving of God Himself.  That’s the grand prize.  It’s the best thing there is.

And there’s another benefit:  that’s how life in Christ works—that’s how grace works.  Through the nearly ridiculously great gospel and by the Spirit, He attracts our attention, we give it to Him, and He produces the life.  (Did you get that?)  I’ll offer the following as a foundation for our new life in Christ:

Romans 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  (Italics mine.)

That’s simply incredible.  And, since we are in God and He is in us, we don’t present ourselves to God out there, but to God in here, on the inside.  In that way, we get to know Him in us.  It seems to me that that is our life in Christ, and that’s how “grace works.”  (See also Titus 2:11-14.)

Some of the arguments we’re having go toward knowing Jesus.  I know.  That’s good.  But there are an awful lot where that’s lost.  So in your mind, in your writing and conversation, be careful to hold to the prize, to the real treasure above all treasure—knowing Jesus in you and with you and for you.

This is the God we get to know, the mystery hidden from the ages, but now revealed to us and received by us.  Christ in you means life for the first time; what He does and how He is from there (in you) reveals and directs life.  That’s the prize and that’s where the wonder is!  Right?  You should have it.  Fight for it.  It’s worth it.

(This is a transcript of a March 2013 video, “A Fight Worth Having,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. . .or maybe you’d like both.  If you’d like to see the video, click http://youtu.be/5BHk5TNXn5Q.)

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