We began with a simple hypothetical: Suppose we had the chance to be the first colonists on the planet Mars and we wanted to have a church there. What would we need to establish worship? We began with simplicity in group worship, but as we went along, details began cropping up, and the devil, as they say, is in the details. Soon we began to have disagreements and the notion that these disagreements can never be overcome began to creep into the discussion. After that, we took a side trip into our own individual attitudes about worship and prayer and how we relate to God. What is really important in relating to God? How do we draw close to Him? Then we considered a metaphor for setting aside everything of “self” to draw close to Him, and when we did that, a couple of things began to clear up.
For one thing, we saw that most of us have a number of barriers between us and God, barriers entirely of our own construction. Sometimes, we even try to keep secrets from God, secrets about pride or motives, secrets about holding back and not quite giving Him our all. We might call this ego, we might call it shame or we might call it something else; Paul called it “self”. “I like this”, “I don’t like that”, “that is a deal breaker”.
No wonder that unity within the Body of Christ is hard to find!
With that said, I must add that it may be hard to find, but it isn’t impossible to find.
So, we come to the real question in this journey of ours: What does it take for us to begin anew as Christ’s followers? Yep, that’s the question.
Paul told us a number of times in his writings that when we are baptized into relationship with Christ, our old man is dead, and our new man rises up, that we are now new creations in Christ. This of course, is what Jesus referred to when He told Nicodemus that he must be born again. Yet people will say that this all goes against human nature, but what Jesus and Paul were both trying to tell us is that our human nature is dead and gone and that the time has come for us to embrace the new nature within us. Sadly however, very few of us ever manage to do that, for we cling tenaciously to that old human nature.
Our metaphor illustrates this so well: Do we dare to be completely naked in the presence of God− naked and unashamed?
This is where unity or disunity is determined− we cannot blame someone else.
As I write this a thought comes to mind: This is just like starting to eat right and loose those extra pounds. Everyone says they’re going to do that− soon. So, what is keeping us from doing it?
Well Don, it’s because of the Western diet; it’s all around us, we just eat too rich a diet, and we eat too much.
I’m so busy that I have to eat out all the time.
I tried but everyone else is bringing donuts to the office; I can’t help it!
I know I should, but I don’t have the time, and besides the family doesn’t like healthy food.
I just don’t want to give up the things I like.
Essentially, these are the same excuses we have for not growing spiritually.
The more I think about it, the one thing we need to accomplish both of these goals is commitment. Can we commit ourselves to an intimate relationship with our Lord? Can we commit ourselves to letting whatever vestiges of “self” that remain, to fall away and stop holding us back? That, dear reader, is what it all comes down to.
I cannot change the world and neither can you: I can only change myself. Even then, I can only do so much, but God is right there with me. He is the One who provides the “New” to the new man, and when God is in the picture, all things are possible. Could it be that if I finally commit myself to getting out of His way, and if you did too, that those around us might be attracted to Him when they see His love working in our lives, and through us to those around us?
Would you like to find out?
I’m in if you’re in.