I need to get this off my chest. (That’s the only warning you’re going to get.)
I’m tired of “Individually Packaged” Christianity.
You know what I’m talking about: The single serving…enough for just you…consumed alone kind of Christianity that is pervasive in our faith communities. I can’t even find a decent coffee maker to purchase. The market has been overtaken by the single-serve, one cup varieties. Apparently, no one even shares a pot of coffee anymore.
We simply need to get over “me” and press into “we.”
This isn’t a preference sort of rant. I’m going bold: It’s an obedience issue. All us “me’s” need to repent.
What we see from cover to cover in the Scriptures, what we can understand of the mysterious Trinity, and what we can historically exhume from the early faith communities is that the gospel is for a ‘we’ not just a ‘me.’
How many people do you know that vehemently protest participation in the community of Christ-followers? (I know there are good reasons…but don’t stand outside the doors deploring, get inside and rock the padded pews with truth in love.) It’s not enough, Biblically speaking, to have your “personal Jesus” and then move on to the other things you think are necessary for your resume. Take our practice of weekend worship for example: Why do we choose a service based on what is personally convenient or comfortable? Isn’t our worship supposed to be a celebration of the Lord on His Day? (Which of course makes me wonder why we have services on days other than the Lord’s Day…but a topic for another post.)
The one thing a true encounter with Jesus will always do is change your focus from ‘me’ to the ‘we’ of His body.
My thoughts this last week have been trapped between the bookends of God’s grace expressed in our obedience:
And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. As it is written: ‘He scattered; He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’ Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for feed will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with others through the proof provided by this service. And they will have deep affection for you in their prayers on your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” 2 Corinthians 9:8-15.
The Corinthians were manifesting the grace of God in them by their giving of their own, very hard-earned money as a means of obedience to their confession of the gospel. Their salvation left the mental assent box and got active in the investment of the “we.” How about you? Where’s your confession going public by excelling in every good work? Is your life an obedient testimony or do you just have a good story to tell?
Let’s face it: We western Christians are selfish. We’ve grown accustomed to God’s grace for our own sake. The true disciple of Christ must remember that the One we follow was poured out. In God’s economy, what overflows to us is meant for the overflow from us. To the extent that we’ve become stingy with God’s grace (and we have! but that’s another post), we demonstrate how little we really understand about it.
I’m personally convicted by this truth. There are many areas in life where ‘me’ needs to go on the shelf to make room for God’s grace to overflow abundantly to the ‘we.’ Stated simply: I am repenting and I will measure obedience outside of the very narrow focus of me.
How about you?