Sunday, December 20, 2015

Identity in Christ - 52 (Slave of Righteousness)

Scripture says we obey what we give our hearts to. Whatever we focus our hearts on, that thing controls us. Be fore we gave our allegiance to Jesus,, our hearts were usually focused on ourselves, our appetites, our desires. So, we were a slave to those things.

When we gave our allegiance to Jesus, he invaded our hearts and lives. He injected new DNA into our spirits. So, our hearts are new. Our heart focus is new. We are now focused on the things of God. So, we are not only being transferred/restored to our original design (thew image of Jesus), our motivations and values are being renewed. We desire to live as designed. We desire righteousness.
  • God's Perspective
God's desire is for our heart (God's and people's) to meet, to connect. He has built us to have relationship with him. Sin has cut the connection entirely. So, Jesus died to repair the connection. Jesus died to restore our design.

Restoration is inevitable. But it may not just be a slam dunk. It may not just be a victory lap. There will be failures. There will be wrong choices. Even, intentional decisions away ffrom God and what God wants. We will even choose what we know is sin. We live a half-life -- our hearts focused one way, then the other, vacillating back and forth.

And, of course, God is totally surprised by all of this. He had no idea we were going to struggle. So, when we do struggle, he gets angry with us. "Keep this up, and I'll throw you out of the family!"

Foremost, on God's heart, is the desire for creating a family. He has invited everyone to become part of his family. Moreover, he wants everyone to be restored to the image of Jesus. Moreover, he has the patience of infinite love. Moreover, he works hard to keep everyone IN the family. Throwing people out is not really on the agenda.
  • Living My Life
We have chosen to follow Jesus. We have chosen to cooperate with him. We have chosen restoration to the image of Jesus. We have chosen to undergo the fuss and muss of spiritual renovation ... including the demo. The Father injected his new DNA in our spirits. And he patiently waits for our renewal. If he can be patient with us, then we can be patient with us.

One result of becoming God's child, and his Spirit invading our lives, is discipline. Discipline does not seem to be particularly spiritual or mystical. Yet, discipline is the "boots on the ground" of spiritual transformation and living.

Discipline is "choosing to do the right thing and the right time." If a person works, it is discipline to get out of bed each day, in time to get to work. It is discipline to perform one's job well ... whatever it is: cleaning tables in a restaurant, writing bug free computer code or performing brain surgery.

It is discipline that produces in us habit of focusing on God, practicing habits of righteousness, and practices of devotion. (That is, practices that God grow our relationship with the Father.)

We chose a new life with the Father. It is discipline that recognizes we fail, chooses to renew our focus on our relationship with the Father, and to re-establish a walk towards restoration.
NOTE: We do not want to accept failure and sin. Neither do we want to become obsessed with it. If we are to be obsessed with anything, we should be obsessed with love. If we are consumed by our guilt and failure, we are blocked with respect to love.

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