This is probably the scariest thing about Christianity; letting God decide who we are. He wants control of everything about us. It involves our desires, our plans, our relationships, our personalities, our preferences, our hobbies, our styles, our speech, our money, our jobs, our homes, our vacations, our values… but as scary as that can be, He wants everything because He wants to bring new life to it all!
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Colossians 3:9-10 (ESV)
Christianity is one of those things in this world that is incredibly good, incredibly valuable, and incredibly hard. The message of Jesus is so incredible, actually, that I am often left wondering why the whole world hasn’t embraced Jesus. Why HASN’T the whole world embraced Jesus? I think it boils down to two issues: a lack of evidence and too high a cost.
1. Experience Trumps Everything
I would like to say that rational thought and logic are enough for our world to decide something is true, but it just isn’t true. Regardless of how rational I think I am, if I experience something that contradicts what I have been told, I will have to wrestle with that experience, and may very well abandon what I have been told, or previously thought, due to my experience. There are so many ideas and agendas out there today, it’s hard to trust anything more than your own personal experience. Experience trumps everything.
2. We are the Body of Christ
Jesus rose from the dead and sent us the Holy Spirit so that we would be the physical representation of Himself on Earth now. Paul calls us the Body of Christ. Yet, for some reason, much of the church, many of us “Christians” don’t act much like Jesus. In a world that values personal experience above everything else, a church that doesn’t act like Jesus is a clear sign that either Jesus isn’t worth following, or the church isn’t following Jesus. If we want to convince the world that Jesus loves them and that He wins in the end, we can’t do it by shouting on the street corners. They need to experience Jesus. They need to experience Jesus through us. We need to live like Jesus.
3. You Gotta Die to Live
But, here’s the hard part about that, living like Jesus is hard! Actually, that’s not quite accurate. Living like Jesus requires us to die. It’s more terrifying and mind-bending than hard. We cannot live our way and God’s way. I’m not speaking about physical death here. I mean we must take all we are, have, and want and let God have control. We can’t have control at the same time God has control. Our old way of life must die and our own self-sufficiency and control must be surrendered. In doing so, though, we are able to have the resurrected life of Christ take hold and transform us from the inside out. Our nature is able to be changed and our default restored to what God intended it to be! But that life only comes after the old life dies.
4. Dying is an All-Inclusive Trip
God must have the say of what stays and what goes, what dies and what gets resurrected. This is probably the scariest thing about Christianity; letting God decide who we are. He wants control of everything about us. It involves our desires, our plans, our relationships, our personalities, our preferences, our hobbies, our styles, our speech, our money, our jobs, our homes, our vacations, our values, etc. Everything is affected. And as scary as this idea can be, the results are overwhelming. He wants everything because He wants to bring life to everything! This is a complete renovation and restoration! When this happens, we start to actually live like Jesus, the world experiences Him, and the world gets changed!
Previous: Part 4 – Reversal of Evil
Next: Part 6: coming soon
Evan Oxner is the author of Let’s Be Blunt : What’s Really the Point of Christianity? and the lead pastor at Amherst Wesleyan Church in Amherst, Nova Scotia. He insightfully explores questions about God and life in much more detail in Let’s Be Blunt. Find more about Pastor Evan Oxner, his book, and his free study guide at www.evanoxner.wordpress.com.