We either meet Christ in others or we meet a monster. Mankind at its absolute best is wretched. It’s monstrous and bestial. I’ve gone through this world expecting that I, in and of my own self, would be kind, gentle, good and godly. I’ve failed miserably! I’ve also looked to others to evidence these traits and found at the core of every human kindness a fanged foe. In this power of the flesh, I’ve both soothed like a snake charmer and been hypnotized by the same—it’s all so demoniacal. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain! I ask myself, “Can you not stop your tyrannical expectations and strangling hopes that flesh would display Christ?” Nope. Guess Christ will have to do that, too!
For so long I’ve looked for others to DO right without having the life of Christ. I grit my teeth in anger thinking, “How can they do that?!” It’s very easily done without Jesus. And even having the indwelling life of Christ, I can buckle under the legalistic expectations I have of myself. “John, why can’t you just do that, it’s so very simple?!” Plainly stated, flesh will never be Christ.
Recently, a handful of situations have come up that tested me on this. If known, I think most would agree with my contention in these situations, but as I sit before God with a full deck of heartache, I am checked. How can I expect the unregenerate to respond with His heavenly Life? I assure you, I can and have! But this course of action has proved to be debilitating and devastating to my spirit. Christ is the only one who can BE Christ.
I had a beloved spiritual grandmother in Florida who used to say, “John, we don’t even know if the pastor is saved!” Her words always curbed my frustrated expectations. I would think, “To expect Christ from those who don’t have Christ is foolish!”
I wish this was just in the common world but this is everywhere, even in the church. Just because someone goes to church, or names the name of Jesus, doesn’t necessarily mean they have surrendered to His Lordship and exhibit the Union-Life. I always remember the disciples’ question in Matthew 19, “Who then can be saved?” This rings so true when you are passing through this earth.
What’s the answer to this dilemma? “Let Christ” and stop expecting Him to appear where He’s not been made Lord. Be His sheep and live under Him as Shepherd. If I stopped laying expectations on others, and myself, maybe Christ’s life in me would recognize Christ in others and I wouldn’t be so affected by where He isn’t. Maybe instead of being offended, I would pray for His life to invade. Maybe I would stop playing Holy Spirit and LET Him do His work. Maybe I would see the miraculous rather than focusing on the maniacal.
At the end of every day, He is GOD and I am NOT! Christ is the only one who can BE Christ in this world!
With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
Romans 12:1-2 Phillips