~ The Call of Christ ~
Part 3 of 4
"A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to 'accept' Christ without forsaking the world." This observation by A. W. Tozer reminds me of what Hanani, the prophet, told King Asa (which cost him his freedom): "You depended on the king of Syria instead of depending on the Lord your God. And so, you will never defeat the Syrian army. Remember how powerful the Ethiopian and Libyan army was, with all their chariots and cavalry troops! You trusted the Lord to help you then, and you defeated them. The Lord is constantly watching everyone, and He gives strength to those who faithfully obey Him. But you have done a foolish thing, and your kingdom will never be at peace again." (2 Chronicles 16:7-9.) Jesus said we couldn't serve two masters. God wants us to feel, to be overwhelmed, by how much He loves us. He wants to show us how much power He is willing to exercise on our behalf. But God will not override His gift to us of free will. Our free will to serve another master instead of Him holds Him back from exploding His power, love and devotion in our souls and lives.
You probably know the historical account of how Julius Caesar was betrayed and murdered by his own countrymen in the Roman Senate house in 44 B.C. He was a proficient warrior and swordsman and ably defended himself against the attackers. Until he saw Marcus Junius Brutus approach him, weapon in hand. They were the closest of friends and mutual confidants. Caesar was stunned. His trust, faith and friendship were stabbed to death before his body was. He stopped fighting, pulled his cloak over his head, as uttered that famous rhetorical question, "You too, Brutus?" Caesar allowed his countrymen to kill him without resistance.
Jesus also had a famous rhetorical question for His betrayer, Judas: "You betray Me with a kiss?" Have you experienced betrayal? Wasn't it done with a smile, with a seemingly kind act, with a set up that appeared friendly, perhaps even with a prayer? The pain of betrayal and the way it is done sucks the life out of you. There are two ways to recover from the deep, near fatal wounds: Provide forgiveness (as Jesus said, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing") and throw yourself like a hurting, soulfully bleeding child into the arms and care of the One Who never betrays, Who never forsakes, Who is always with you, our Lord Who has already taken upon Himself your pain, your woundedness, your bleeding heart.
In the framework of what I write above, I am pleased to add something my dear parents observed about the Call of Christ: "Satan and his emissaries are ruling this world as long as God continues to allow. Christ, our Savior, told us to follow Him since His kingdom is not of this world. He said He was preparing a place for us in the heavens so where He is we can also be. We can rejoice so much in that statement. In all of the sufferings, the uncertainties, the injustices in this world, to whom can we lean upon, whom can we trust and love without any caution? Christ is the Way, the sure Way, and the Truth, in Whom we can really trust unconditionally in this world. He is the One Who gave us eternal, real life, not the life of this world that just ends in death. No one else can claim that except our precious Redeemer, Christ the Lord. Blessed be His Name."
As I explained in Part 2 of this Weekly Reflection series, I'm not going to try to convince you of what was said above anymore than I would try to convince anyone that the death of Julius Caesar happened in the way it's been told during the last 2000 years. We are sharing experiences, and most of us have experienced betrayal, pain, loss, hardship, as well as joy, soulful peace, life and unconditional love. Therapists who analyze their patients' suffering, reducing it to diagnostic jargon, fail to connect as humans and fail their patients. Experiences cannot be reduced to analytical components and flow charts and are not subject to scientific proofs and investigations. Neither can the experiences of the Christ within us.
Christ is not a "consciousness." God is not a "Higher Power." God and His kingdom is not the "Universe." The Holy Spirit is not a "Force." Christ in God and the Spirit Who emanates from this Being is a Person. Persons require relationships in order to become real to us, in order for us to experience them. I invite you to respond to the Call of Christ like a child responds to the call of his parents to his birthday celebration. The Call of Christ is a call to a new birth day!
Click here for Part 4
John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
Weekly Reflections © June 13, 2000
You are invited to contribute your own experiences of the Call of Christ to Part 4 of this series. Email us at email@example.com.
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