Saturday, May 14, 2011

Concerning My Christ-UNlikeness

I love Philippians 2.

It is one of my all time favorite passages of scripture. I talks about being imitators Christ, who made himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant so that he might die for a sinful world. We should be self-less in the same way.

I have found that to be kind of hard. Big Surprise, I know.

It is my job as a Christian to proclaim the Kingdom. Christ is King, he died for the world, and we can be restored, redeemed and renewed because of him. That is pretty good news. I should need no other motive than the glorification of Christ and the fulfillment of my god-given calling. Unfortunately I find another motive at work in my heart.

I want to be big deal. I want to be a pretty cool Christian and do all the proper Christian things and give myself lots of brownie points for doing all the right things. Instead of humbling myself and only having concern for others, I kind of want to have concern for others because its the right thing to do! And if I do the right thing then I can pat myself on the back and give myself a gold star for being awesome. I get to exalt myself in my own eyes.

I am going to tell you a secret. You can't tell anyone.

I have never brought anyone to Christ. At least not directly. I have never had a conversation with someone where at the end they decided to believe in Jesus. I have never baptized anyone. Sure, maybe something I said or did made an impact on someone and later on it was a part of the reason they came to Christ. But I have never had the direct experience of leading someone into the faith.

Not that I haven't tried. I have done tons of preaching and teaching and conversing and praying and all that jazz. Its just never come together.

Recently I spent two months praying everyday for the nonbelievers I was regularly around. Everyday. For 56 days. I expected a lot to happen. I expected this to be my big moment, my golden opportunity. It was an intense spiritual fight, with lots of opposition, which convinced me all the more that I must be really on to something. The 56days ended a week ago. I still can't say I have led someone to Christ. That bothers me.

More importantly, it bothers me that it bothers me. I am disturbed at the fact that I trivialize all the good those days of prayer did and all the fruit it brought about in order to focus on how I can't add a spiritual badge to my chest. I am disturbed by the fact that at some deep core level I can pour myself into Kingdom work and the Kingdom life for.... myself. Glorifying Christ, on some level, isn't enough. I need a little glory too. I am not selfless. I have not made myself nothing. I have not taken the very nature of a servant.

Most disturbing of all: what if that is why I am ineffectual? What IF God chooses to draw people to himself only indirectly through me BECAUSE I am not humble enough? What if the pride of my faux humility is the very thing holding people back from entering the kingdom?

I have talked before about the weight of representing Christ. It is when I am convicted so acutely about my Christian life that I feel that weight most heavily.

Rom 7:24-25
"24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

~J.L. Smith


  1. so i tried to post a comment, but i think the computer ate it.
    i'm a little sad that i missed reading this before the picnic and subsequent theological discussion. i'd love a sit down chat about this post sometime soon.
    also, my secret: me either.

  2. Oops! We forgot to talk about this tonight. Oh well, another day, another conversation.

  3. and your comment was posted at 7.46am... and YES! we'll add it to the list of conversation topics... seems to be lengthening. i'll brush up on my New Testament while i'm at it :) and angels for the topic list! (i was a bit out of it this evening, sorry)