How a Christian Lives

Many of the (supposed) Christians I know have lost their first love. You can tell by the way they live. A Christian obeys Jesus and follows Jesus rather than being invested in a political process. If I person is more invested in conservative (or liberal) politics, I don’t care what they say they believe. They are lukewarm, at best, Christians.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:7–14, NRSV)

If you have ears to hear it, I offer a word from Volf and Croasmun.

To perceive a form of life contrary to our own as truly desirable, to recognize in it the pearl of great price for which we are willing to sell everything, requires more than good vision and hearing, more than reliable information combined with unassailable arguments. It requires a death of the self and its rising again and a resultant shift in seeing and hearing, a new set of eyes and ears as the organs of a new self.

Volf, Miroslav; Croasmun, Matthew. For the Life of the World (Theology for the Life of the World) (pp. 123-124). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Please, please, please, Christians, get your story straight. Who are you?

Rest for the Weary

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28–30, NRSV)

We want the rest. But we resist the yoke.

The yoke is one on learning, discovery, and growth. But we fear it is a yoke of rules, restrictions, and limitations.

The heart of Jesus is gentle and humble. He wants us to have the same heart. I’m ready to lay down my burden and take his instead.

Who will join me?

Obedience is not an add-on to faith. It is an expression of faith. In fact, obedience is the expression of faith.

Faith without works is dead.

CS Lewis on Prayer

‘Praying for particular things’, said I, ‘always seems to me like advising God how to run the world. Wouldn’t it be wiser to assume that He knows best?’ ‘On the same principle’, said he, ‘I suppose you never ask a man next to you to pass the salt, because God knows best whether you ought to have salt or not. And I suppose you never take an umbrella, because God knows best whether you ought to be wet or dry.’ ‘That’s quite different,’ I protested. ‘I don’t see why,’ said he. ‘The odd thing is that He should let us influence the course of events at all. But since He lets us do it in one way I don’t see why He shouldn’t let us do it in the other.’

CS Lewis, God in the Dock, Part 2, Essay 7, Scraps

Brueggemann on the Boy King

This section is Brueggemann at his absolute best:

The paragraph on the emancipation of Jehoiachin, as it stands, is a statement of hope. It reminds us that hope is not a property, not a possession, but always a gift given generously and held loosely, always a chance and not an assurance, always a gamble against the staring face of reality. Despair is a disease in the modern world, a sense of closure already enacted against the world. Nostalgia is a pathology that imagines a possible return to the way it never was. Optimism is a sickness that pretends and disregards how it really is. Denial is the stuff of refusal to live the life given us.

Taken all together—despair, nostalgia, optimism, denial—are all fashionable in a technically-ordered world that is thin on memory. But this boy king stands, as placed by the narrative, against all of that disengagement from the reality of exile. Hope, elusive and emancipatory, is a refusal to accept an end, a refusal to give Nebuchadnezzar the final word, a refusal to think that our defeats have in them the defeat of holiness, a refusal as it is more recently said, to give Hitler a posthumous victory. And so the boy king, now middle-aged, eats and waits, not knowing. The scene is so Jewish.

Walter Brueggemann, 1 & 2 Kings, ed. Samuel E. Balentine, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Incorporated, 2000), 607–609.