Claire L. Eva, Assistant Director, General Conference Stewardship Ministries
Summary: How can we understand and internalize what it means to follow Christ as Lord of our lives? Look with this editor to Philippians 3 and 4 to find some meaningful answers.
Do you ever fear God saying to you, ?I never knew you?? In reviewing this vital
issue of Christ as Lord of your life and mine, it is easy to get caught up in the legalistism Luther aptly described as the ?oil of our bones.? Easy to get into the seemingly inescap-able rut that expresses our self with words like, ?But, Lord, didn’t I preach about you? Didn’t I work hard for you, trying to do what was right and avoid what was wrong? Why do I feel as if I am on the outside, nose pressed against the pane, looking in? Remember me? Do you know who I am??
There is hope for us in this paradoxical state. As the hymn says, we are ?prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love.? How can we reconnect? How can we understand and internalize what it means to follow Christ as Lord of our lives?
Paul shares his experience. In Philippians 3 and 4 he warns fellow believers to ?steer clear of ... religious busybodies? who are only interested in appearances. Then he lists his own impressive credentials and startles us by literally tearing up the list. Further, he says they are worse than trash. Why? ?Because of Christ. All the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand? (Php 3:7, 8 MSG).
?I’ve dumped it all? he says, ?so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.? I gave it all up ?so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner to his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself? (Italics mine, v. 10).
Paul shares the essence of what it means to know and be known of God! He tells us, ?I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wonderfully reached out for me?. I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus? (v. 14).
He knows you! And what’s more, He is able. ?God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.? (IP:1, 2, MSG).