Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Captivated by Christ

This morning I spoke at our Sunday meeting for what is going to be the last time for a while. I have requested I be taken off the preaching roster so that I can have the time to prepare for an increase in workload associated, primarily, with the new Friday evening meetings we are starting in February.

The message I gave today is one directly related to my own personal experience over the past few months. And I want to share a little bit of it here. I wasn't sure how it would go down but, as is usually the case, God was able to work through my words (and His Word) to touch the hearts of those who heard it. To say I am moved by the response would be an understatement.

A few weeks back, in a quiet moment at Kick Start, I picked up a Bible and began to read Phillipians (you can read my response at the time here). When I got to the middle of chapter 3 I read something that hit me like a brick. It solidified, qualified, made real so much of what had been spinning around my head for the last couple of months.

The crux of it is this: I think we (and I include myself in this), the church, have made many things more valuable than Christ. The way baptism should take place, the things we "have to know" before we can become good Christians, the way we dress, look, speak, behave. We have made all these things and more, benchmarks against which to measure our godliness. Inevitably Jesus comes in a little further down the list.

As I was preparing for today I found myself thinking back to the 14 years I spent as a drug addict. They were terrible years. I wasted so much of my life and did so much damage - to myself and to others. But somewhere in the middle of all of this I managed to remain captivated by Jesus. The Jesus I had been introduced to as a young boy, sitting in a little dusty room of an ancient house attached to a little Methodist church in a country town.

It wasn't doctrine, it certainly wasn't church, and it wasn't even Christians. At least not the vast majority of Christian's I had had dealings with. No it was the person and work of Jesus Christ.

I was captivated by Him. By who He is and what He represented and by the way He lived His life. And this is what kept me going, kept me struggling on in the hope that one day I would know freedom.

In Matthew 11 Jesus says something striking - it's something that I have found myself time and again engrossed by, but something that, until very recently, I haven't really understood, at least not in the context of what I equated with the "Christian" way of doing things.

Jesus said:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This is the Jesus I want to know. I don't what to know the Jesus of the spiritual "Pharisees" - the Jesus of rules and regulations and conformity. That Jesus doesn't captivate me. No, the Jesus I want to know is the Jesus of the Gospels. The Jesus that transformed the life of a religous man called Saul, when he met Him on a dusty desert road.

When I read Philipians 3 7-12 I fully understand what Paul was talking about. Last week I was a Pharisee too. Last week I gave religious importance to stuff that was, in reality, garbage! This week though - and hopefully into the future (I am sure I will need reminding) - I am a new creation! I am putting off the binds of the Law and living in the knowledge that I, as Paul says it, belong to Christ!



Shannon said...

That my friend is powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing your heart. It's a real encouragement.

The Creature said...

Thank you, Shannon!


Jamie said...