Matthew 10:39 – He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 3:7-8 – But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
In one sense, it has not been a stellar week for me, I am sorry to confess. At my son’s soccer game, the old competitive beast within me surfaced with an unholy vengeance. I yelled abruptly at some of the kids and one parent rightly called me on my inappropriate behavior. He just happened to sit on the board of directors for the league. This incident has been eating away at me for days, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it was bothering me so much. I really felt ruined deep down, and the sense of self-loathing just lingered and wouldn’t let go.
Like every child of God, I have carnal moments – more than I care to admit, where all the evidence under heaven proclaims loudly that nothing divine has ever really touched my life. But something was different here; it was almost debilitating. I just couldn’t stop playing it over and over in my mind. Perhaps you have experienced something like this. Repentance doesn’t take it away. Time doesn’t soften its edge. It just plagues you until you can’t carry it anymore.
And then it struck me, like a thunderbolt from heaven… The old man was still trying to live, to survive, to express himself, to get the world to pay attention.
If I understand this correctly (and it is still unrolling in my spirit), I was grieving the fact that everyone present at that soccer match did not witness the person of Jesus Christ, but a pathetic little man attempting to assert his place in the world. This was a corrupted witness, whereby I was expressing myself above, and instead of my Master. What is startling about this is that lately I have been asking the Father to allow me see things more clearly through His eyes, as they truly are, both in myself and the world around me.
Which leads me to this question… How pure and unadulterated is our testimony and witness of Jesus Christ in this darkened world? The answer, I would suggest, grieves the Father terribly.
We are instructed, and the spirit confirms within us, that we are to act graciously and magnanimously in every situation (yes, even a kid’s soccer game) – that we are to express the character and grace of our Master whom we faithfully serve and represent. What the world (or my small town anyway) witnessed last weekend was anything but that!
What a testimony! They witnessed someone alright, but not the High Lord of Life. Was He increased and I decreased there in that pathetic outburst? Was the Living Gospel accurately portrayed by my behavior and example?
My friends, sometimes we think we are moving on down the road and advancing in this walk of faith. We start seeing ourselves above the passions and lusts of the unbelieving world. Our Father in Heaven is even starting to seem imminently closer, like we can almost apprehend Him, reaching further into the light, drawing closer, and deeper into Him.
We want ever so much to lose our lives in Him and His beloved Son, the One in whom was found neither vile thought, nor selfish ambition, nor any unclean desire. We momentarily forget what we are truly made of – the filth and rot brooding beneath the surface, the corruption not yet refined by His refining fire.
We may have a website even, dedicated to pure things, to truth, to what is real. And the very devil himself is screaming “hypocrite” with every thought we share. And you know something – he is right.
Yet all I have is Him, and this living testimony. He is all I have because He is my life and if I cannot live in Him then I don’t want to live at all. It is not enough in this world that the message of my life is “me” and not “Him”. Even if it means to be laid naked and bare before you and all the world, to be viewed as I truly am. All I can do is to be real – nothing changes until that happens; nothing can.
I have tearfully repented of grieving the Spirit of my Lord and His testimony, and He has brought me out the other side of this, very much bruised but improved. For you see it is much larger than simply losing your cool at your kid’s soccer game.
For all those who will say that I am only human, you have missed the point entirely. It is that the people there saw just another human being doing what all human beings do, naturally and impulsively. They never even got a glimpse or suggestion of the Savior and Shepherd of their souls, of His grace and peace.
But, you say, most there probably didn’t even know you were a Christian.
Nonsense! I reject that absolutely!
I know, and God knows, and if I had in fact expressed Jesus Christ then and there, then they would have surely known, for they would have seen Him. Here then is the point! That unbelievers can see and touch and taste the life of Jesus Christ, whenever they behold this testimony, which is His life lived and breathed in us. It is a living testimony whereby we are walking but it is His shadow being cast on the world.
I apologize that this post is so close to the bone. It is difficult to share, but this, you see, is what His Church is all about. We are the same you and I. Our origins in this world and our lives in what the Bible calls “the flesh” will always be the same. Why do we attempt to mask what we are – to hide from ourselves and from one another?
Let us draw deeper into the only One who can save us from what we are, and bind us together and to Himself!
Please pray for us here at Living-Walk, that we would watch and see the Master at work, and understand what He would have us do.
Your friend in Christ Jesus,