Jesus 101: Impudence, Righteousness, and Simple (Re)Discovery

“According to my earnest expectation and hope… I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exulted in my body, whether by life or by death.” – Philippians 1:20

I opened my Bible this evening in the hopes of God would provide, in some way or another, an outlet for my fears and longings, but somehow I ended up crying in my pillow more afraid than ever. Looking for words of consolation, I was led to Philippians 3, where Paul explains the goal of life as the most difficult thing I’ve come across – following Christ. I feel as if this is a concept numbed by and within Christian culture as we hear the term often and casually read through our Bible’s without stopping to think, “Hey, wait! What does that even mean?!” I believe I just fell subject to one of those epiphanous moments as I began to ponder what it even means to be a Christian or walk with the same integrity that Paul beckons us to mimic in reference to his own life. Here we have a guy who’s lost more blood than a UFC fighter, but still gets up, wanting more, and always walks back to preach the name of Christ within the same city walls that threw his crimson body out on the streets. This is somebody who is constantly having his plans skewed and disjointed, but always thinking about how to adapt to circumstance for the sake of the Gospel because his own expectations and desires have become of lesser importance. In the verse above he writes about never being put to shame, but living with boldness in all things! Moreover, whether he lives or dies, he aims to have his life be one of exultation towards this God he seems to have given everything up for.

In talking about righteousness, Paul continues to zealously say, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward that goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” It’s about knowing Him! It’s not about dwelling on shortcomings and pitfalls of the past, but looking ahead and wanting so desperately to serve Him with whatever event presents itself. I think what speaks volumes most of all for myself is the fact that this righteousness is not to be sought or gained through my own merit, but given and attained solely by Christ’s goodness and His own life’s actions. I can continually seek perfection, which is what I should be doing, but any hopes of achieving it outside of Christ, or within the realms of my own volitional action, should be put to rest as it will only lead to disappointment and failed attempts. I’ve sought so long for this thing I’ve learned to call “righteousness,” but I think a lot of it has been blind punches on my part in the hopes that I nail a target, and less opening of my eyes to see Christ wanting to put it straight into my hand. I’ve been overlooking this for quite some time now, and I think my view is slowly being directed towards less arduous means when it comes to my own capacities.

However, in going back to why I’m so deathly afraid, it dawned on me once again today that following Christ is exceptionally difficult! It’s no easy task! I don’t know what God has planned for my life, and I’m in full understanding that persecution within the States in comparison to Paul’s Rome and surrounding regions is far different; but I can’t help thinking that this surrendering of life, when taken seriously, is going to lead to eternal servitude, hardship, and eventual death of self. Is this really what I signed up for? Rather, is this really what I’m willing to commit to? Well, yes, and believe myself to have been doing so for the past 4 years, but it doesn’t ease the fact that I’ve still got a lifetime ahead of me to shift my joys from selfish ambition into altruistic desire. This is tough, but it’s oh so good, and I can’t think of a mightier endeavor to follow. So there you go, God. You’ve got an impetuous kid wanting to serve despite You laying out all the cards on the table. Or the severity of your mercy is so great that I cannot help but commit myself.

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~ by Chris Kyle on December 21, 2009.

One Response to “Jesus 101: Impudence, Righteousness, and Simple (Re)Discovery”

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