eager expectations

Does our culture want the church to succeed? I mean do they even want the church around?  IMG_2997From where I sit, it does not look that way.  But what if the opposite were true?  There is this little line out of the book of Romans that has harassed me for at least a year.  It is simply this,   “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” In the context of what Paul is writing, “creation” is all of humanity and the “children of God” are those people who have placed their confidence in the person of Jesus.  The “children of God” are the church.  So what Paul is saying is that the entire world is waiting for the church.  The entire world is waiting for the kids that look and sound just like their father, Jesus.

The only problem with this is that the entire world seems a little burnt out of the “children of God.”  Instead of being the kind of people that others are waiting in eager expectation for, we have become atheism’s best argument.  We continue to find our identity in ourselves.  We continue to strive toward self-sufficiency, which is not wrong but if taken to its logical conclusion, exalts ourselves as our own deity.  We continue to embrace Christian celebrity as the de-facto leadership paradigm.  Our leaders continue to act like CEO’s, the good ones and the bad ones.  We continue to act like people who look nothing like the Jesus of the Gospels.  We have remade Jesus in our own image.  It is no wonder that the body of Christ really begins to look like someone else rather than the one who died for it.

So what is the world waiting for?  The world is waiting for church that has the grace of Jesus.  The world is waiting for the church that loves its enemies.  The world is waiting for the church that blesses its persecutors’.  The world is waiting for the church that is overflowing with generosity.  The world is waiting for the church that leads and heals with the authority of Jesus.  I am waiting for the church that doesn’t sit around and criticize the world but offers something better. We are all waiting for the church that overcomes structures of evil in a way that is life giving not life taking.  The world is waiting to be surprised by grace.

You can’t change an entire system, but God has given you authority over yourself.  You have the dignity of choice.  You know what and who are formative in your life.  There is a battle raging over your character and your formation.  Everyone wants a part of you, marketing firms, big business and even churches lead daily brainstorming sessions on how to get you in the door and smoke what they’re selling.  They want you to organize your life around them. What you allow yourself to be influenced by informs things that are very deep within, like your character and your identity.  We must be honest about who and what actually influences and forms us.

What if we each made a decision and a concerted effort to look more like Jesus? Jesus organized his time in such a way that he spent most of it with very few people.  He invested himself into others. Maybe you’ve accepted Jesus as your savior but you’ve never accepted him as your teacher. How might the trajectory of your life change if Jesus was your constant teacher?

If Jesus were your lifetime teacher it makes sense to me that your character would reflect his.  It makes sense to me that you would then make it your ambition to help form others as they follow Jesus.  It makes sense to me that as this happened more and more, we would begin to see our culture become happy that God made this world and put you in it.  Jesus’ life, being revealed in your life, is what all of creation is eagerly awaiting.


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