Are You A Believer? Then right here. Right where you are.
I have a cousin who is in fulltime ministry, and many years ago when he was in the part of it where he did street theater and prison ministry he had worked up a skit. He demonstrated it, with a friend(*whose part I’ll play for you) while we were talking in my backyard at the time and it has always stayed with me. I don’t know if it was the skit, or the time, or my cousins ability …. but the lesson stayed deeply impressed in my brain. It reappears in my thinking every once in awhile and did so today- as I was thinking over that last post.
It went like this:
I am the person who has just accepted Christ… We’re all friends and I am completely happy in His companionship….however. One day I am invited to a party with some of my old friends, and I decide to go and tell Jesus that I’ll be back soon, and for Him to not go anywhere… reassuring Him I’ll return and how much I’ve enjoyed His fellowship. As I go , Jesus follows quite closely, not saying anything, but very present. I walk Him back to the place I left Him previously…. and the scene is repeated. Each time I try -no matter how carefully I try to explain myself, He is there and it dawns on me. This is a forever and for real relationship. It doesn’t matter what I decide to say or do, Jesus is within the scene. He is there. What do I choose to take Him to, and for what reason?
The part of Jesus was played quite silently but very powerfully by my cousin. Apparently his impression of Jesus is as one who is not surprised, and goes with us fully knowing the where and the why. We can be ashamed, or proud that He is along, and we can recognize who He is, or we can try to evade that. It is our decision, but the covenant is a decision that is made: we are in this together.
The reason I am thinking of that today is because sometimes in our anger and in the way we soak up the life around us we speak and act in ways that, if we remembered Christ’s presence, we would surely moderate. We need more than reading the book on it a few times, we need to daily build that consciousness of Christ’s presence into our lives. It is a discipline, and one we many times regretfully fall short of.
That is too bad really. Too bad because it is missed opportunity, and because our entire lives will be publicly played back to us in the presence of all heaven, and probably all humanity. I doubt if judgment before God’s throne is private. So while there is no condemning sentence for the Christian, surely there will be tears, regret, and shame for many. It will be experienced before it is wiped away forever. And really, the choice for discipline is the self’s choice.
And through all this…. the joy and the difficulty of the Christian life, is this, that we carry within clay vessels the Holy presence of the perfect God. Sometimes in unseemliness, and that should not be so. It isn’t fitting. But this is His perfection- He is able to suffer many such mistakes on our part. Understand our pettiness, our wrath, our disappointing ways. He is able to overlook and remain so that we can pattern Him…. after we are weary of our own fruitlessness and glaring blemishes.
I suppose this is what I found myself thankful for on Thursday…it just took awhile to come to the surface.