We are so eager to spread the good news. We love to share our testimony. We enjoy praising the name of Jesus that we are so loved by our heavenly Father. Why are we so fearful of admonishment? Why do we rarely teach? Why do we choose the course of least resistance at the cost of the lives of those we break bread with? Why have we so numbed ourselves to the severity of the Gospel we proclaim that we choose to seek comfort and peace in this life while sending those in our care off into an eternity of pain and unrest? Do we not believe in the promises? Do we not believe in the warnings, the consequences, the costs? The Gospel of Jesus is not there to make us happy. It is there to change us. It is there to transform us. This implies that what we were and what we still are in many ways is not the ideal and is need of transformation and change. Therefore, we need to change. We must change. To reject change and to reject transformation is to reject Jesus and reject the Gospel. Worship songs mean nothing without change. An inspiring message means nothing without change. Any and all Christian activity done in the name of Jesus without change is meaningless. There must be change. We don’t live under the banner of Christ with the understanding that we are fine and all that remains are rejoicing and laughter. The banner of Christ that hides our life in its shadow declares to us on a daily basis that we are sinners, we need to repent and change and we are not finished. As a Christian you are still under the care of the physician. Therefore, admonishment and teaching in the name of Jesus and with wisdom is not only a blessing but it is life-saving. We need correction and admonishment when we stray from the light of Christ. Admonishment in this scenario is true love. Love that desires peace, unity and comfort at the cost of truth, life and unity with Christ is not love at all. This is hate. This has not real concern for the other person. Be wise and careful how you teach and admonish. Pray and pray again before doing so. Have patience and be quick to pray and seek the Lord’s will before you do either. But for Christ’s sake and the sake of those you love, teach, rebuke, admonish and love.
This is not about you. Unity with Christ means that the spirit of extreme selflessness has taken up residence in your life and in your spirit. This is the frontline in the battle between your sinful nature and the spirit of the living God. We would rather talk about the things we want to talk about. We would rather engage in the activities that we are most interested in. We would rather eat the food that most pleases our palate. We would rather put our self first–all the time, every time.
But this is not about you. Counting the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ means that you have signed your name on the spiritual dotted line of the New Covenant that agrees and declares this is no longer about you.
The blessings of Jesus follow after complete submission to the name of Jesus. How can we think that we can receive the blessings of Jesus while living completely in contradiction of the spirit of the very same Jesus? Delusional. Deceived. This is not about you.
Jesus did not come as a conquering King to rescue you. He came low and disgraced so that he could pay the debt of your sin to forgive you. Jesus is the living embodiment of selflessness and submission. This is Jesus and this is his Gospel. This is not about you.
HE forgave you. HE dwells in you. It is all about him. He is the Christ. He is the Lamb. He is Jesus. Jesus is now your meaning of life. Jesus is now your passion. Jesus is now your prize. Jesus is now the center of your everything. This is not about you.
Beware of the spirit in you that attempts to credit, glorify or promote the self. This is not of God and this is not worthy of Jesus. There is nothing about the Christian life that elevates the self. He must become greater and we must become less. Anything different is not the Gospel and must be revealed and rebuked for what it is. A lie. Your life is now hidden in Christ, the light of the world. Hidden. Unseen. Unnoticed. This is not about you.
The body of Christ is ONE body. There is no other. Standing side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder with your sister and brother in Christ, you are united as ONE body. This is no easy task, but with God all things are possible. Our sin desires to be independent. Our sin desires to be one notch above the rest, one step further than the whole. Sin deceives us into thinking that certain parts of the one body hold special significance and priority over other parts. Sin will deceive us into thinking that our gift or position is of more importance to the body than the rest. This spirit of division is the antithesis to the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is humility, unity and love. The Spirit of Christ in us seeks unity in spite of our own comfort, desires and pride.
The Christian is called to a life of unending and comprehensive sacrifice. Nothing about sacrifice is easy. Why should we think that our union and fellowship with other believers would be any different? It’s not. Our relationships with each other in the body of Christ are often the things used by God to refine us the most. Without the tension and challenge of seeking unity in the Church there would be no growth, no transformation and thus no life. We need each other. We need this tension. We need the sacrifice. The sin in us will turn from the challenge and seek to find any available opportunity to blame-shift, judge, criticize and reject those around us in the Church. Seek unity. Seek Jesus. By the blood of the Lamb we were saved from eternal condemnation and that same blood is the only chance we have to finding unity in the body of Christ. Allow our Lord to sharpen you. Allow him to reveal what is in you. Allow him to teach you. Find your place at the foot of the Cross and welcome your brother and sister to join you there and only there. This is not friendship. This is fellowship, and fellowship of the deepest kind, bought at the highest price. We have all been saved. We have all been forgiven. We are all beloved by our heavenly Father. These are the ligaments that bind us together and nothing else. Unity is not an option, it is the result of living in Christ, for Christ and with Christ.