Random Rants

The Christian in the Shop Window

Although the idea of community is a huge part of the Christian life (Gr. ekklesia: translated “church” in the NT–“kirk” if you’re Scottish), there is a huge danger on relying on what the people outside of yourself think about you and how you’re doing. All that they’re seeing is what they can see. People can appear to be Christians just by behaving a certain way, saying certain words, doing certain things. But that is not where our life in Christ exists.

The great enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ in the present day is the conception of practical work that has not come from the New Testament, but from the systems of the world in which endless energy and activites are insisted upon, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, for lo the kingdom of God is within you,” a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives in the shop window. It is the innermost of the innermost that reveals the power of the life.

We have to get rid of the plague of the spirit of the religious age in which we live. In Our Lord’s life there was none of the press and rush of tremendous activity that we regard so highly, and the disciple is to be as His Master. The central thing about the kingom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to Himself, not public usefulness to men. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 19)

You have to know Jesus for yourself, and consider that relationship more important than all others, and your unity with Christ has to be more important than your unity with your brothers and sisters. When Jesus prayed for us in the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed “that they may all be one, ust as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21, ESV). The unity that we have must be in the Father and the Son, or it is nothing but meaninglessness and vanity.

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One thought on “The Christian in the Shop Window

  1. Hi, I read the above Christian in the Shop Window (thank you for your thought-provoking comments) and it got my brain working.
    *In*ward community juxtaposed to *out*ward community. 🙂
    First off, to let you know my perspective on spirituality, God as I understand Him is Jesus, with whom I have a personal relationship.
    Reading this column, I thought of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (and Narcotics Anonymous,etc.). AA, terms God our *Higher Power* and *God as you Understand Him*.
    The Twelve Steps are methods to to fix what is (mentally,emotionally, and spiritually) broken, recover–basically guidelines for living on this planet.
    It's done by first acknowledging what we've tried to *use* to get through life hasn't worked; then seeing that there is Something bigger, stronger, and faster than us that can help; and finally, choosing to let this Something take over.
    Let me describe it by listing the first three steps:
    1 – Admitted we were powerless over alcohol (or drugs, etc.), that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2 – Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
    One thing this is first doing is helping the person to begin to focus on the *inside*, a positive first step for someone who is overly concerned with “relying on people outside of [them]selves think about you…”.
    It is also guiding the person into the realization “I'm broke and I can't fix it, but there's Someone out there who can, and I think I'll let him”.
    A big part of the Twelve Steps is inside work, work that's done with God. And, it's actually so much of an inside job, in meetings *generally* the person's understanding of a Higher Power stays personal (or, who's God to them).
    However, this inside work sure sounds like Jesus to me, and I tend to think that He is humble enough to have patience to wait for when people have the spiritual ability to see Him.
    And, as you mentioned in the last paragraph, importance is stressed on having unity in the AA community as well. The unity may be not so much in the “in Us”–the Trinity–but it is in a Power greater than a group of humans.
    Because, without God, *absolutely everything* is meaningless (meaningless, meaningless!) and vanity.
    Respectfully, Lilly

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