Friday, January 30, 2015

A True Christian

Once we encounter Jesus, in whatever state we are at in life, we are empowered to be liberated from the gravity of what holds us down and lifted up through the challenge of the cross to the joyful abundant life of a true Christian. 

true Christian is someone who is being transformed, in grace, through the cross into another Christ -- By nature, only Jesus of Nazareth is the true Christ of God. When we are being transformed into another Christ we begin to see others as Christ. We feel drawn to love even those who hate us.

As true Christians we become aware that every thought, word, and action that proceeds from us is directed toward Christ himself, and whatever we hold back from those in need, is held back from Christ himself. Jesus words are clear: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did to me." and "Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me." [Matthew 40 & 45] 

No matter how irrelevant our thoughts, acts, and words are, they must always be interactions of love toward the other. There is not even a small moment in time where that is not commanded of us (John 13:34): in times of war or peace, stress or tranquility,  in interactions with a child or an elder, with a family member or a stranger, in every place and every case and at all times. Moments of failure will challenge us, but within God's mercy we can only be humbled and become more dependent on God. 

The secret then is to always place ourselves in a state of humility and prayer, while sheltered in God's mercy. On our own we will never get far since"With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God." [Mark 10:27] We must strive to unify our will with God's in order to call ourselves "True Christians." 

You Are Called

"Why does he eat with 'the rejected' and sinners?" they asked. Jesus replied: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners." [Mark 2:16-17]

Are we those who are well, or are we those who have been rejected and enslaved to sin? "Amen, Amen I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin." [John 8:34].  If we are honest with ourselves we will recognize that we are the ones whom Christ is being criticized for eating with. We are the ones he is focusing on, so that he may heal us from our emptiness and call us into holiness.

The Holy One of God comes in humility and eats with us at our table, so that he can draw us to himself when he is lifted upon the cross (John 12:32), and have us share in his eternal banquet at his table: "You who have stood by me in my trials … You may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom."[Luke 22:27-30] 

What we are hearing and seeing here is given to us so that we may never think that our sin or state of being is greater than the mercy of God. Jesus makes it clear that he comes to call the sinner not the righteous. So this call is for you and me and not for some holy person. The righteous is deafened and blinded with self-glory and is unable to hear or see Jesus until he or she is graced with a touch of humility.