Many of us wear corrective lenses or glasses. We wear them because they help us to see more clearly. At least we see more clearly if the prescription is correct. If not…well, then life is a blur! I have come to realize that many of us see life through various lenses! The lens of gender, faith tradition, nationality or even region of a nation. We can see things through the lens of life experience, race, profession, political leanings or even something as innocent as preferences! It is very difficult to admit this and even harder to overcome. The only way to see our world around us accurately is to see it through a singular lens. As a follower of Christ our lens must be His life! Our sight must be His vision of the world! His life and His teachings cannot be viewed any other way except to follow Him!
Galatians 3:26-28 says,
“You have all become true children of God by the faith of Jesus the Anointed One! It was faith that immersed you into Jesus, the Anointed One, and now you are covered and clothed with his anointing. And we no longer see each other in our former state—Jew or non-Jew, rich or poor, male or female—because we’re all one through our union with Jesus Christ with no distinction between us.”
My initial thought about this verse is, “Wait just a minute, there is obviously still male and female! There is certainly still Jew and Gentile and of course, at that time there were still slaves.” So, what is up with Paul? His last statement is his point! He said, “because we’re all one through our union with Jesus Christ with no distinction between us.” Or in the context of our thought here we all see each other through the same lens of our union with Christ. All of life is seen and approached through our union with Christ! Everything. Yes…everything. When everything concerning life is seen through our Christian faith then our behavioral structure is based on our faith. Our thoughts are developed through the lens of faith. My responses to issues and circumstances are based on my faith…which is based upon the life of Christ. Christianity is a complete life change! Remember, we are buried with Him in baptism! We die! We are raised “in newness of life!” That does not just mean we go to heaven someday! It means that I have died! Now the only life I should be living is His life! Directed by His thoughts! Governed by His actions! Being like Him! Seeing the world through the lens of His life!
Galatians 2:20 says,
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Stanley Hauerwas said, “Christianity is a politic. Not an American conservative or liberal politic! Christianity is a whole new way to be human that requires a complete reordering of the way we organize our lives both personally and in community. Christianity, as a politic, pushes us to ask how we should organize our common life in order to become more faithful to the way of Jesus!” Stanley seems to be expressing the very message of the gospel in that we now have a completely new identity in Christ! We are His. We have His heart. We have His thoughts. We see life through His glasses because that is the only prescription of a Christian! If we view life through any other lens it is blurry!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. approached this thought by saying, “The Church must be reminded that it’s not the master or servant of the State but rather the conscience of the State. It must be the guide and the critic of the State and never its tool. If the Church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” The Church of Jesus Christ is His expression on the earth. We must accept His standards of life and realize that the kingdom of heaven is our reference point! The Lord’s kingdom is the basis for life! Jesus expressed this clearly to Pilot when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world!” He was saying the authority and basis for life comes from another kingdom, not from this world and its systems! When our approach to life and when we see life primarily through any other lens beside the life of Christ it puts the Body of Christ at odds with each other! When we hyphenate the identity of Christian, we draw lines that separate. Female-Christian, Baptist-Christian, conservative-Christian, black-Christian or American-Christian. When we do this, we have just reassembled the wall that Paul said was removed in Christ!
Jesus left us a great example during His temptation! When Satan came to Him and explained that there was another way to accomplish all of this redeeming of the world and society it says, “Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, you must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” It seems that Satan was tempting Jesus to redeem fallen man another way instead of God’s way! The way Christians approach fallen society seem to say that we are intent on changing fallen man another way besides God’s way…through controlling behavior. Jesus was clear when He said it’s only by submitting to worshipping God! It’s by serving Him only and not by serving a particular agenda! Think about it. I know that’s not our intent, but it sure seems to be our actions!
Humans, and yes Christians, are addicted to power. We think that power is the only way to affect change! We are willing to seek out the power of the world, just like Satan’s temptation of Jesus, so that we can have the change we think is needed. True change only comes by the presence of God’s kingdom. Spreading the kingdom of God and seeing the change in the hearts of man through discipleship produces ultimate change. Once we commit ourselves to only wear the “glasses” of the life of Christ and see life through His lenses will we effectively engage the world around us and be ambassadors for Christ! Then we will fulfill our influence to “entreat the world to be reconciled to God!” True and lasting change in the world is weighing in the balance of how we view life! Let’s refuse to see through blurry lenses and put on the crystal clear glasses of our Perfect Lord!
Jimmy has been a Christian longer that he has been an adult. He devotes most of his time to family, church, community, and prayer with a few coffee breaks in between.