Approaching Christ

In my opinion, virtually everything that Bishop Todd Hunter posts is gold. But the following post last week really struck home:

“Many people do not approach Christ to find out what claim he might put on their life, what transformation of the total self it might require. We often interact with the person & work of Jesus hoping to find support for views we presently hold and the current habits of our heart.

“As C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, ‘We are looking for an ally where we are offered either a Master or—a judge.’

“When not aligned to the aims of Jesus, we are in fact rebels living a life contrary to the whole track laid down by the purpose and plan of God. When we name the rebel within us, it allows us to then deal with our self-will in order to trust and follow Jesus.

“in the biblical and spiritual sense, surrender has a beauty, goodness, rightness and power to it. It is the grace-enabled ability to let go; stop fighting; and deny self-will and follow Jesus.

“Wholehearted surrender and the abandoning of outcomes to God is not fatalism. It is not passive. It is a thoroughly reasoned abandonment to Jesus, taking on his aims in your own life and ministry.”

Bishop Todd Hunter

At times I’m guilty of a vending-machine Christianity. I want something, so I approach Christ with my request, hoping he will give me what I want. It could be for myself or for another — life direction, a job, a car, health, blessing, or intervention. I may even tack on “The Lord’s will”. But bottom-line, my requests tend to be like Bob Wiley from “What About Bob?” “Give me, give me, give me! I need, I need, I need!” Regardless of how eloquent I may be, I’m still approaching God simply as a dispenser of blessings.

Approaching God with our needs isn’t a bad thing. God is our shepherd in whom we have no need. The Bible does say that “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights”?

But our requests of God must be within the overarching truth that Christ has a claim to put on our life. He wants to train and transform us into his likeness first and foremost so we can be genuinely human in God’s rule like he is. Then our requests are driven by what God is doing in us and through us as part of his program to renew his world.

If would be so nice if “self-will” and “surrender” were settings we could just flip off and on like we do with our smartphones. But it’s not easy. That’s because they’re not settings. They are part of our coding that needs to be rewritten. And without us cooperating with Christ’s rewriting of our code, we find ourselves unaligned to Jesus’ aims and rebels who are living a life contrary to God’s purpose and plan, even though we claim to be his people.

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