My 5 year-old son has two favorite songs right now. Christ be all around me and Spirit of the Living God. We have Spotify, with access to countless songs, and yet we spend most of our days with these two songs on repeat. Because song meanings are very important to me, I often ask my little boy if he knows what the words mean. When he sings: Above and below me. Before and behind me. In every eye that sees me, Christ be all around me, does he understand what prayer is behind those lyrics? Does he understand that he is asking God to be so present in His life that when people see him they actually see Christ?
When he sings: When you speak, when you move, when you do what only you can do. It changes us, it changes what we see and what we seek, does he understand that he is asking God to move in his life and change him to the point that the way he sees and responds to others is the way that Christ sees and responds to others? While I’m at it, do I understand this?!
We’ve been focusing our time and energy on finding our bearings at Legacy and I keep asking myself over and over: Am I finding my identity in Christ or am I seeking the approval of others? I keep asking myself: Does my life point others to Jesus? I don’t want to be seen as a nice person who does nice things. I want people to see the life-altered impact Christ has had on my life. I want others to recognize that I treat people differently because of his presence abiding deeply within my soul.
I am a doer. I just can’t seem to sit on the sidelines for any substantial amount of time. I have lots of ideas and often can’t get my head out the clouds. But it’s time to land the plane and start being. Then the doing can be spirit-led. This takes a lot of dying. Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ” not with the mindset that years later Christians would think it was a cool verse worthy of memorization. No, he said he had been crucified with Christ because he had chosen to die to his view of holiness which came with a whole lotta doing and he was good at it, too. He chose to die to his plans for his life and take up the life that God had designed for him.
“What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.” –Galatians 2:19-21 (The Message)
I don’t want my actions to cause Christ’s death to be considered unnecessary. I also don’t want my actions to vaguely resemble human decency with zero evidence of Christ in those actions. There is purpose in this life I live, and there is value in the songs my son sings with reckless abandonment. May Christ be all around me not for security, as I initially mis-took these lyrics to mean, but as a living testament of the amazing reconciliation that has taken place between God and myself because of Christ’s death on the cross. When he speaks and moves, may it change me not for the warm and fuzzy feelings that come from singing a beautiful melody, but may I truly be moved to see and treat others the way Christ sacrificially demonstrated for all of us on the cross. He died for us while we were sinners doing sinner things. Can I love and treat others with the same sacrificial love while they are still sinners? What if they are different from me? What if they eat weird foods or smell funny or have differing points of view from me? Can I share with them the life-altering love of God? What if my 40,000 foot view looks different when I land?
“Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” –Romans 5:8 (The Message)
God put his love on the line for me. He didn’t do this so I could have a comfortable, cozy, life free of discomfort or pain. He didn’t put his life on the line for me to keep this good news to myself either. He pursues me and calls to me help others hear his voice. He’s called me to be distinct. To be salt and light. He loves me so I can love others. He has changed me; I will live a life that reflects that. I will abide in him and the fruit will not be contained. And I finally will be able to say with full confidence: Look what the Lord has done.
I’m coming in for a landing.