~ The Call of Christ ~
Part 2 of 4
"If there was no life after this one, we just died and that was the end, would you still love Christ and devote your life to Him?" My friend looked at me with some hesitation. I continued. "If there was no life after this one, would you still love and devote yourself to your wife?" That was an easier question to answer, and it was an immediate yes. What is the difference between the two questions?
In the industrialized, service-oriented world, agreements are not considered binding unless they are in writing and you affix your signature to them. This stipulation is so important that the US recently passed a bill recognizing digital signatures on email and web-based documents as "valid", just as binding as ones written with your own hand with a tangible pen on tangible paper. Interestingly, Jesus had a comment about this 2000 years ago. He said to not swear upon anything, but rather let your "yes be yes", let your word be as binding as your physical mark. In days long gone, and still in some cultures today, a person always could be counted upon to stand by his or her word.
So we are not only used to contracts, but they are an essential part of our daily transactions with others. Most of people's motivations to enter into an agreement are overshadowed by a powerful driving force, the process of thought that can be titled, "What's in it for me?" Unfortunately, this thinking has permeated Christian theology and evangelism. Indeed our Lord and our God pursues us with an infinitely passionate love. He doesn't ask us to work hard to earn His attention or favor. God did all the work. He made the Way. He prepared His kingdom and set His table for us. He is constantly inviting us. For some reason He created us in His image and offered the incredible gift of redemption and spiritual life to only us and not to the fallen angels. He loves us to death, literally!
But God doesn't make deals. Some preachers might on God's behalf, like "Accept Jesus as your personal Savior and then you'll be saved from hell!" Or, "Give a tithe of your income and God will bless you with ten times that amount in return!" Or, "Love God and He'll give you eternal life!" The way into God's heart is not in thinking, "What's in it for me?" God's love isn't a negotiable commodity. Rather, we are commanded to love Him. God doesn't buy into our "contract" way of thinking.
Don't you think making a deal or contract with God is the height of human arrogance? Blasphemy? Consider Whom we speak about. We think God is everywhere, in all things, distributed throughout the universe. We sometimes think of creation as a container or habitation of God. But the scriptures tell us that the universe, all of creation everywhere, cannot contain God. It isn't that He is in all things, but all things are in Him! And He is infinitely greater and vaster than all of that! Despite this reality, this God wants to live in us through His Holiest Spirit! He wants to make His home within our souls! He loves us unconditionally.
So let us abandon the mindset of making contracts with such a Being. God is not our wish fairy nor is He manipulated by our puny minds. God is not impressed with our philosophy and clever arguments, such as, "If God was all-powerful, He could make a rock bigger than He could lift. And if He did, then He wouldn't be all-powerful." God says, "My thoughts are higher than yours and my ways are greater than yours," which is probably one of the greatest understatements of all time.
The Call of Christ unto Himself and the Father, as written in these Reflections, are not presented with enticements, deals, promises, logical arguments or stories of blissful nirvana type spiritual experiences. Enticements and deals only serve the ego, the self that needs to die and be reborn. Logic and arguments are just entertaining mental gymnastics on one hand, and they often cause wars on the other. Bliss can be induced with a wide selection of psychotropic drugs. The Call of Christ is too sacred a matter for the arrogant trivializing and modern marketing packaging to which it has unfortunately been reduced in our culture.
So how can we approach this God? If not through logic, philosophy or a "What's in it for me" decision making process, how? Jesus said we must approach Him as a little child who melts faithfully and trustingly into his loving parent's arms.
Click here for Part 3
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
Weekly Reflections © July 6, 2000
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