My friend Matt gave our church group a “statement” to focus on last week. It’s been on my mind a lot lately…
“We’re seeking to be cooperative friends of Jesus living lives of creative goodness through the power of the Holy Spirit for the sake of others.”
Here are a few thoughts on that statement:
-cooperative friends of Jesus- What a thought. To be friends with Jesus Christ. To know him personally and intimately. To be so close to him that we feel what he feels. That we know what’s important to him and we’re moved by what moves him. And “cooperative” in the sense that we join him in his agenda. His agenda of loving the world and making things right. Jesus truly is the savior and repairman of the world, and as his cooperative friends, we can join him in that restoration project- the kingdom of God.
-lives of creative goodness- I love this line. My passion for “good works” and selfless service is a fairly recent one. Before, I assumed that my reaction to God’s dramatic action in saving my life was to simply go to church all the time, sit through the same songs, and listen to sermon after sermon till the cows come home. And to be honest… that’s so BORING! And so I’ve realized that my reaction to God’s explosive salvation in my life is an outward expression of “creative goodness” in every thing I do. Not under a lampstand or just under a church roof, but in the REAL WORLD for REAL PEOPLE and in creative, unique, innovative, exciting ways.
To quote Brian Zahnd twice:
-We must join the dance. As those who believe that God loves the world and is saving the world in Christ we must joyfully belong to human society. We must join the dance. The Church must creatively participate in the arts, music, poetry, literature, film, theater, athletics, education, entertainment, law, governance, business, finance, commerce, conservation, medicine, journalism, labor, science, research, philosophy, theology, and all that is necessary to produce a healthy, flourishing human society. We can’t sit with the pinched face world-deniers secretly hoping the worst will befall those who dare to try to enjoy life and claim to be filled with the love of Christ.
-So when should a Christian live? Now and forever.
What should a Christian do? All things that belong to the goodness of human existence.
We should reconcile people to God, we should reconcile people to one another, we should heal the sick, we should elevate the poor, we should set the captive free, we should bring justice to the oppressed, we should do good work, we should play enthusiastically, we should beautify the world, we should work for peace, we should work for prosperity, we should get married, we should raise children, we should compose music, we should write novels, we should paint masterpieces, we should create art, we should educate ourselves and others, we should study God’s creation, we should study the stars, we should study the sand, we should live beautiful lives, we should celebrate human existence, we should climb mountains, we should swim in the ocean, we should love, we should laugh, we should live, we should confer dignity upon one another, we should worship God, we should do all these things to the glory of God.
-through the power of the Holy Spirit- Simply put- God, the creative genius who fashioned the universe in its grandeur and detail, now lives in us and empowers us with the vision and strength to do creative goodness. In other words, the Creator creates through us. Awesome.
-for the sake of others- This is what separates the men from the boys, I believe. There’s a lot of work done in the name of Christ for the sake of something other than “others.” Usually for the sake of egos or obligation. However, Jesus, the selfless foot-washing servant, is our example of what life should be- self-denial and selfless service.
-Recently, I prayed a big prayer. I told God that I wanted to become an unselfish person. Sounds simple, but it will likely take my entire lifetime to achieve. I want to become purely unselfish in my motives and truly consider the needs of others over my own. I can do it easily now, but it’s not who I am. I mean, I can fake being humble and selfless, but on the inside, my motives are usually self-seeking. And, I’m choosing to denounce that- to dedicate my life to knowing God and modeling his example of laying down his life for others.