Monday, March 3, 2014

Who We Are ... When Nobody’s Looking

“When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
— Matthew 6:3-4 (NRSV)
LESS you know about the impact of the good you do, the better.
Sometimes the blessed of all ministries are those only God knows exists.
How would it be, then, if God were to sponsor an effort where there was no outward success other than some occasionally very special feedback?
Perhaps we are most Christian when we genuinely do good deeds in secret, behave ‘Christian’ when nobody is looking, and when we are laying down our lives for a total stranger.
Works in Honour of the Worthiness of Christ
It’s a depth that cannot be plumbed: the consummate worthiness of Christ.
How are we to comprehend the magnitude of the grace that has freed us of the eternal bonds of our sin? What we cannot grasp in its entirety is nevertheless true; salvation has come, and at no small cost. It cost God.
Mindfulness is an ally to this extent: when it remains in the forefront of our thinking we are less likely to ‘use’ Christ by cheapening grace.
We have the method of repentance, sure, as a way of reconciling our crude and wasteful deeds, but repentance was always designed as a platform for transformation – given that most transformations happen slowly over the years.
Waking Up To Christ’s Reality In the Holy Spirit
Western Christians are vastly disadvantaged to live in cultures and civilisations so graphically different to that of the ancient world. Our first world problems are central to our hypocrisy. Our comfort zones that bear a weight of retention over us are our ruination in a world that looks our way: “can he/she really live as a Christian (i.e. honouring God)?” We end up disappointing people. It’s inevitable. The least we should do is be honest. We are sinners.
The Holy Spirit lives in us or he is suppressed. Grieved at us taking credit for the deeds done supposedly in Jesus’ name, the Holy Spirit is somewhat estranged, though only half a step off the pace.
There is another paradox we must get our heads around. There’s only glory to God when we try very hard to ensure there’s no glory at all. This is a knife-edge reality: we cannot be brash in the flesh and then claim to be Spirit-filled. It doesn’t work that way.
There is more glory for God in the resplendence of our humble characters that shun the limelight, because the irony stands: walking away from the egotistical overture is how we are to be that city on a hill, lights shining for miles.
Imagine the credibility us Christians would have if we only obeyed our Lord Jesus more. Doing good deeds in secret, behaving ‘Christian’ when nobody is looking, and laying down our lives for others: these are worthy of Christ.
There’s only glory to God when we desire no glory at all.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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