I recently read a book about an ordinary radical. A man who got out of the pew and went to experience the life Jesus experienced. He wanted to know true Christianity. He was on a crusade and even went to Calcutta to visit Mother Teresa and work with the Sisters of Mercy for a summer.
He worked to be Jesus with skin on. His hope was to be the hands and feet of Jesus, coupling it with the scripture, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” And this all sounds well and good, and I enjoyed listening to his stories. Yet my problem with his experience is this: Yes, he was able to allow Christ to use his hands and his feet, but nowhere did I hear of Christ’s mind being involved. If it were truly, not I but Christ, than his functioning would be under the mind of Jesus as well. Now I’m not trying to unduly criticize this gentleman. Heck, he’s getting out there while thousands sit lifeless in the pews. But excessive movement doesn’t necessarily make a godly life.
This gentleman made the statement, “Rather than waiting around for God’s special plan for your life, you should just go where God is at work and join in.” Wow! That is frightening. Now, I am not trying to get into a scriptural boxing match with this. But I do want to highlight this prevalent error in order to emphasize the points of my recent posts on the exchanged life.
The social gospel is alive and well. Feed the hungry, heal the leper, and see miracles. It’s like, “Find a need and pick it up and then all day you’ll have good luck.” Where this message goes awry is in the fact that the social gospel is propelled by my life and goodness. It’s predicated on my opinion rather than Christ’s mind to function. But I am not called to fill the needs of my world; I am called to let Christ live my life. This is what not I but Christ means. It’s not my life—it’s His.
“But there are thousands and thousands of hungry and starving people out there!” My calling is not to seek to meet the need with my supply; I’m to listen to the Provider and allow Him to supply His need. Talk about revolution! If we all lived like that, we would have a radical existence. A true radical allows Christ’s life to be the propulsion.
I am concerned about any movement that utilizes the strength of youth to perpetuate a social gospel. This path ends in weary, worn-out, disillusioned, and embittered saints. If I am attempting to live Christ’s life in my own strength and under my own compulsion, the guarantee is I will break under the weight.
Thank God my life will buckle and snap under my strength and force. I was never intended to have my strength and life propel me forward in Christian deeds. The Spirit of the Living God is able to communicate quite sufficiently His mind and will towards a broken world.
The social gospel is easy; it requires nothing but my motivation to do. I decide, I perform, it is done. Yay ME! Unfortunately even if the author had stated that he sought the will of God, and then went about performing what he heard, it would’ve been no better. I must seek the mind of Christ and then allow His life to perform His will.
Surrendering to the mind of Christ is difficult. Christ in me is nebulous. It is a mystery. It makes me dependent. And it’s the only existence that pleases the Father and fulfills my true need for purpose and satisfaction.
Thank you, John . . . I seccond Sam’s comment.
It took me a long time to realize that I was so wrung out because I was trying to DO God’s will (or what I thought it was). Thank you so much for your insights. They are so helpful in this struggle to LET Christ BE.
I was remembering Paul’s words:
“THEY SAY/DO WHAT THEY SAY/DO BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO TAKE UP THE CROSS.” (I don’t remember well, but I think he was talking of those preaching the circumcision to gentiles.)