We’ve all heard we are supposed to “be Christ” to people, yet I’m not Jesus, and I’m not sure I’m really supposed to be.
In ministry (and all Christians are ministers to some extent Eph 4:12) we often find ourselves desiring to be many, many things to many, many people. Sometimes, quite honestly, it’s too many things and too many people. Ah, but those are the easy ones to spot…
What about that position, task, platform, or routine that you refuse to hand over, adjust, or promote someone else in because of what it does for you. The status it gives you. The praise you receive. The feeling of accomplishment or sense or purpose. Maybe this one isn’t a “be it all mentality, but rather a “be exceptional” mentality. Whatever it is, it can consume you just as much as “too many things” can.
So maybe the problem is not always so much what we do, or not even why – though that’s connected – but, maybe, it’s who we think we are?
The Christian Who Thinks He’s Christ
Now, I know this is a dangerous question to be posing, because don’t we also teach that you, as a redeemed and adopted child of God, are not just the image of Christ, but you are Christ!? (Col 2:9-10) At the very least, you’d agree that his power should flow through you.
So I know this is a potentially argumentative (or at least confusing) point, but I’m going to say it anyways: I am not Christ!
I’m not. You are not either.
Seriously though, you’re only human… and that’s okay! I think God made me human on purpose. Yet, sometimes I think I can try to be Christ to people and it only wears me out!
See, I’ve just been wondering why it is so many leaders and ministers or really Christians in general are worn out all the time. And, why is it we seem to throw around this “super spiritual” talk like: “You’re words have power!” and “You can bring the healing that people need”, yet we don’t actually see it happening.
Now I know the people who would read that and say, “Well you’re just not believing it!” or “It’s cause more people don’t actually have the courage or faith to step out!” But honestly I’m kinda tired of hearing that.
I’m just wondering lately if it’s not actually that we’re longing to be God (a version) so much that we’re actually sneakily, secretly, even sub-consciously, using our doctrine to justify ourselves being “Christ” to people instead of letting Jesus simply be Christ to us.
To me. To you. To them.
In retrospect I can look back over the last year and see ways that this slightly skewed thinking affected my ministry and my behavior. I can also, often easier, note the ways this unconscious creep of reality affected me through others. Others who in the name of “Serving God” I suspect were actually hindering the work of Christ in others both individually and organizationally.
The Question We Must Ask
It makes me wonder. Am I doing this in any area of my life? Is my longing to “be something great”, “do great things for God”, “not be ordinary”, “make a difference” (or whatever cliché or phrase we give it) actually causing me to elevate myself to a place of God?
Thus, actually forgetting that I’m still only made in the image of God not equal with God. I’m actually made to worship him, and work for him, and be satisfied in just being known by him… maybe only him.
I know the simple answer is to just call it “idolatry” and say to find whatever it is you’re “idolizing” or longing for, and then change that… somehow. Yet, I think it could be expounded on a bit more. As in, maybe we’re just forgetting our place altogether.
I know you “grace focusers” (what’s the theological term for that) will have my head for this – and most days I’d be on your side – but I just have to wonder if it’s not more prevalent of a problem than we think.
With all the moral fall-out, the emotional and physical burn-out, the completely miserable and unsatisfied Christians (even if they don’t even realize it), do you not think this could be a valid question to ask? How much better might our individual lives, our churches, our leadership, and our ministries be if we could discern this?
My typical style of writing comes with more answers than questions (which calls for few comments usually), but perhaps this is meant only to be a question for both of us. Is my “serving God” actually hindering Christ because I’m actually seeking to validate myself? It’s sneaky… but as I’ve begun to think well on this, I see it in me, and all around me.
More on this soon. Think well.
Q: Do you get what I’m saying here? Have you seen this in your life or someone else’s? Care to expound any farther?