Meditation Monday – Choosing Christ or the World.

by Christine Sine

language-of-love-001

by Christine Sine

Do we really choose between the world and Christ as between two conflicting realities absolutely opposed? Or do we choose Christ by choosing the world as it really is in him, and encountered in the ground of our own personal freedom and of our love? Do we really renounce ourselves and the world in order to find Christ, or do we renounce our alienated and false selves in order to choose our own deepest truth in choosing both the world and Christ at the same time? If the deepest ground of my being is love, then in that very love itself and nowhere else will I find myself, and the world, and my brother, and Christ. It is not a question of either-or but of all-in-one… of wholeness, wholeheartedness and unity… which finds the same ground of love in everything. Thomas Merton Contemplation in a World of Action. 155-156

Often when I talk about the concept of shalom and our need to work for the wholeness of others and of our world, people often ask me What about personal faith in Christ? Isn’t that more important? I love this quote because it sums up exactly what I feel. Becoming a disciple of Christ is not just about personal salvation, it is about reorienting our love towards God’s dream of shalom – of wholeness, and unity.

Salvation is about renouncing our false self – the self that is oriented towards self satisfaction and self centred living and grabbing hold of a dream for a world transformed by love. Theologian NT Wright sums this up well in his important book Surprised by Hope: 

Love is not a duty; it is our destiny.  It is the language that Jesus spoke and we are called to speak it so that we can converse with him.  It is the food that they eat in God’s new world, and we must acquire a taste for it here and now.  It is the music God has written for all his creatures to sing and we are called to learn it and practice it now. 

Words without actions are nothing.  Worship should not end when we leave the church building.  It should be the driving force that energizes us for action out into God’s world.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t often happen because we lack God’s shalom vision for our world and our lives. As Oswald Chambers said: It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. Perhaps part of the reason that people  are not influenced by our evangelism is because we are not acting as representatives of God’s shalom kingdom.  And perhaps part of the reason they are not attracted to the church is because our lives are virtually the same as those of non believers. 

It grieves me that so many people who call themselves followers of Christ live in exactly the same way as their non Christian friends.  It grieves me even more that the United States, a country in which most people consider themselves Christians, has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation and the second highest poverty rate. (Only Mexico has higher ) If we truly lived transformed lives like those early disciples who gave up homes, jobs and sometimes family, maybe our world would be a very different place.  And if we truly lived as citizens of God’s kingdom, speaking the language of love maybe we would see our world transformed in the ways that we say we want it to be.

What is your response?

  • Immerse yourself in the New Testament vision of wholeness
    • Read Luke 4: 16 – 21, and/or Revelation 21:1-4 then sit in silence for 5 minutes reflecting on this beautiful imagery of God’s eternal shalom world revealed in Christ.
      • What part of this imagery of shalom most inspires you?
      • How has this changed your view of Jesus’ purposes on earth?
      • What is one change you would like to make in your life to move closer to God’s shalom purposes?

This post is part of our October theme Living Into The Shalom of God.

 

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3 comments

SteveRush October 26, 2016 - 2:20 pm

That gives me food for thought, I’l be coming back to this. One question, Christine; how does this world that is, simply, our environment differ from the charter member of our trilogy of mortal enemies, is: the world, the flesh, & of course, the Enemy himself?

And, as always, thank-you much!

Reply
Christine Sine October 27, 2016 - 7:31 am

Not quite sure what you mean Steve. I believe God is in the process of restoring and redeeming all creation. I think heaven will come to earth in one new restored world.

Reply
SteveRush October 28, 2016 - 3:19 pm

Yes, we agree. And now having reviewed your thoughts, and consulted a simple concordance; I suddenly realize my approach was wholly at cross-purposes to yours.

I was thinking of the world system, as apposed to Jesus Christ, and His Spirit. And the concordance revealed multiple words translated as world – my own error this was.

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