I ended my last post on Christlikeness with several questions:
So then… What is the solution? If Christlikeness is not about being like Jesus, if we are to stop trying to be like Jesus, then what should we do? Where should we go?
A different way of looking at this question is this. Given two people, both loving, both joyful, both considerate, patient, pure, generous, you name it, they got it. One is a Christian, one is not, what sets them apart?
If we as Christians are seeking purely for Christlike virtues, what then sets a non-Christian apart from us in our lives? Because I can certainly identify several non-Christians in my knowledge whom exhibit same and sometimes greater virtues than most Christians I know.
Let us push that envelope a bit further, what if you can go to a heaven without God? Would you still want to be there? You experience no pain, no sorrow, no sin, and only perfection, joy, peace, comfort, love, and all that is good, but God is not there, would you still want to be there?
To be honest, at several junctures in my life, I would scream out, “YES!!!,” because I was so troubled with my sins, so entrapped with my depression, insecurity, anxiety and fear, all I could think about was what could I do to get out of my condition, what could I do to be freed and saved from all these junk in my life. With God or not was irrelevant, without pain and without sorrow was all that I could care about.
But that doesn’t work as I discussed in previous post, so we are back to ground zero again, what then matters?!
12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said,“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”
This is the answer. The entire Jewish heritage points to this one particular truth and point:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
God’s calling and God’s promise also boil down to this simple idea:
8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Parallelism is one of the most defining traits of the Hebrew language, and we find in Micah 6:8, the act of doing justice, loving kindness, is in direct parallel to walking with God. It is by walking humbly with God, one exhibits such character of justice and kindness distinct from all other people. It is for this very purpose, Christ came down from heaven to save us from our sins, so that we know God is with us. It is for this very purpose Christ came back to life, so that we can be with God through the great high priest, Christ Himself and no other names, no other barriers, no more annual sacrifices, no more curse and no more condemnation.
Therefore, With-God is the crescendo of Christian walk, the result of crucified and resurrected Christ, the source and the sustenance of Christlikeness.
Yet, being with God is not something we earn, but an act initiated and completed by God through our participation. Similar to a parent child relationship, a child did not “earn” his or her right into the family, one is simple born into the family based on the initiation of the parents, the nine months of carrying out the baby by the mom and I will stop the analogy right there. Point is, it is not earned, but given into. Still, in the process of growing up, a child can choose to either participate in building a relationship with the parents, hardening one’s own heart, or outright forsaking the family. In a very similar way, people can also choose to receive the adoption of becoming a child of the heavenly Father, or building up walls around one’s heart, physically there but not really, or, leave the relationship altogether.
With all that has been said so far, there are few questions we ought to ask, if with-God is what defines a Christian, then do I truly want to be with God? More than anything else? Really?
If I do want to be with God, what does that look like?
Well… it’s getting late, I will answer that in another post, for now, think about the questions asked here, and really, be honest with yourself, do you desire God, really?