Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Flesh as Grass
So we look farther out. We see other families and people who have been temporarily placed in a position of authority in which many are watching. But do we really see them for who they are, or do we watch and unwittingly draw conclusions as to how we think things are? "Oh, we know they're not perfect, of course!"... Or so we reason. But in our hearts, do we really and truly believe this?
The church at Corinth got caught up in an overemphasis on man. Some claimed to follow Apollos, a smooth preacher, some Paul, more down to earth, and some Cephas. Still others scoffed at those following a "Simple man". Who did they follow? Well, they followed Christ ! (1 Corinthians 1:11-13) The church members began to compare and contrast who, in their eyes, did a better job of preaching the gospel and teaching God's word. What they failed to realize was that Apollos, Paul, Cephas- they were all mere men! Debased sinners forgiven only through the work of their Savior, Jesus Christ, just like the rest of them. (As far as those who claimed only to follow Christ, I think it was more of a pride issue for them, than an over-focus on man.)
The Church at Corinth was very much like many Christians today, it seems. We could care less about Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber, but that doesn't mean we don't form a "Christian icon" for ourselves, in the name of Homeschooling or godly virtues. We like to have someone to watch, who we somehow feel is better spiritually; someone who seems to us to be a superhero Christian. We like to let someone who "Has it together" bear the brunt of the criticism, do the hard work, and perhaps share some secret to good Christ-filled living. We watch them through rose colored glasses, seeing them absent of the grit and grime we "average families" experience in day-to-day life.
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."
So for what reason do we hold onto these fallible icons? When you get down to it, I think we don't even want to see them "at our level" because it's downright discouraging. We get so tired trying to get past the immorality and muddle of the unregenerate sinners around us, plus trying to work through our own failings. We want to see someone who, at least in our glazed-over view, isn't caught up in in this; not bogged down spiritually; on fire and passionately serving the Lord. So we stare at the pile of laundry at our feet, the toys scattered around the room, and the dust on the bookshelf and sigh. "What if's" bog our mind as we wish we could do better. We raise our Christian figure on a pedestal rather than seeing us all as mere servants to our King. We are all fallen. We all struggle. We all need Christ.
While this may discourage some, I think looking at it differently may change our perspective. Think about it: We all are striving to follow God's word and bring glory to His name. We don't have to watch those in positions of authority and shrink back in awe of their commission. Rather, we should be encouraged by their work and seek the Lord for how He wants to further use us. Perhaps it is a position of high acclaim, or perhaps the lowliest, most unseen job you can imagine. Either way, we can move forward trusting in God's best, rather than our own desires, or the toil of mere man's obligation.
So often we seek the admiration of man when we need only seek to please Christ. It sounds like something we've heard before and "know" but have we really taken it to heart? Is it really something that shows in our thoughts and actions?
Man will let us down. Man will leave us unfulfilled. We must put our every hope and confidence in Christ. He will give us our focus, mission, and the ability to follow through. This is something I must take to heart, and pray you do as well. Once we realize the fallibility and erroneous heart of man- only then can we fully give God all glory and acclamation. When we let Christ empty us of our flesh, He alone can bring fulfillment, leaving our cup overflowing with His mercy and grace.
"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever."