Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Mature Perspective

There are certain principles of Christianity that we know, understand and speak about a lot, but we don't necessarily understand them enough to put them into practice. I am not saying that Christianity is a matter of practicing certain behaviours. Instead it is a knowledge that certain behaviours belong to rebellion and others please Father. With this knowledge we desire to live in a way that pleases and honours Father even if we are powerless to do it. That desire is then empowered by the Spirit in us because we were made a new creation through Jesus, so we are changed bit by bit to be more like Jesus.

When I first started out with Jesus I was a very critical and judgmental person, as I find many new Christians are. It takes us a while to get our footing and to understand that how Father sees things is different then how we see it. We tend to see all the things people do wrong according to the Law. Father sees a creation he loves lost in rebellion against him. He sees a creation he wants to come back to him, to become his children. He sees with love. He would rather forgive than condemn and that is what we need to remember, for ourselves and others.

The struggle for Christians is the tension between forgiveness and justice. It sounds simple enough. If we have been forgiven we should forgive, which is what Jesus instructs us to do. He told some very powerful parables on the danger of accepting forgiveness but not offering forgiveness. Our problem is our sense of justice, wanting people who do wrong things against us to pay for those wrong things. It can take us a while to fully understand from our heart and not just our head how important it is to forgive as we have been forgiven but once the Spirit has made this a part of our character, we see everything differently.

As far as judgement is concerned, when we keep pushing in with Jesus, our perspective changes. We begin to realize that every person is susceptible to the rebellious nature of sin and we all mess up. Each of us is accountable to Jesus and what Jesus thinks is so much more important than anyone else. He knows our struggle and it is the reason that salvation is a gift of grace and not something that we earn. Because it is a gift based on Jesus' actions, the only way I cannot possess it is if I refuse it. This is true for me any everyone else.

With the truth of this accountability we need to apply this simple Scripture:

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

With this shifting of perspective we become cheerleaders for our brothers and sisters instead of judge and jury. When we realize the greatness of Father's love for those who belong to him and even for those who don't, we tread with respect in the lives of others.

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We are all at different levels of maturity, knowledge and understanding. We are all wrong in some part of our understanding but we are all growing. I try to keep in mind what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi:

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. (Philippians 3:15)

We all belong to Jesus and where we are wrong Jesus will bring correction and we are not to judge those who belong to Jesus because Jesus is going to bring them into victory. And we are glad for it. Our great desire, along with the salvation of everyone, is that everyone who is saved will be victorious over everything in their lives. If this is not yet your desire it will be as you grow into it.

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