Hi everyone. Rob here.
I have noticed two things about my faith in Jesus that help me in everyday life. One is that it connects me to a bigger story, the kingdom of God. My faith tells me that I am an ambassador for Christ, a child of God and a citizen of God’s kingdom. I am loved and have a vital role to play in God’s unfolding story on this earth. In turn, that gives me a life of optimistic hope even as life’s circumstances try to testify otherwise. The second thing is that my faith tells me that there is much in life that I don’t need to worry about because I’m not in charge. This helps make my world smaller and more manageable. The things that I’m not in charge of I can give over to the Truly Sovereign One and focus on what I’m responsible for. Faith connects me to a bigger story but it also puts my life into perspective. I belong to God’s kingdom but I’m not responsible for that kingdom. I have responsibilities but I’m not the centre of the story. As I continue to learn how to die to self it is having the effect of building resilience because I have a clearer perspective.
This is a work in progress so there are still days when I worry too much, get self-obsessed and put my story at the centre. But, increasingly, there are more days when I am surrendered and content.
Paul writes this in Philippians 4:12-13:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul is in prison and is writing his most hopeful letter. His external world has shrunk to the size of a prison cell but his sense of being part of something greater has grown. In the previous chapter he wrote this:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him… (Philippians 3:7-9)
Knowing Christ and being found in Christ is what gives us true perspective because he gives us his perspective. He is our blueprint, our forerunner, our ultimate example and by dying with him we become people who rise with him too. We are co-heirs with Christ as Paul reminds us in Romans 6:16-17. His kingdom is our kingdom and as we pay attention to his earthly life we see that he never took on board anything that wasn’t his to take on. He was generous, open-hearted, tender and kind but he also had boundaries, a specific mission and clear discernment about what belonged to God and what did not.
We are to live in the same Spirit; asking God for wisdom about what belongs to us and what does not. Asking the Spirit within us to remind us of the big story that we participate in and our specific role in it. There are battles that aren’t yours to fight, dramas that aren’t your concern and missions that aren’t for you to join. What there is is an invitation to walk with God as friends of Jesus in the power of the Spirit. You will be shown where to go, what to do and, most of all, we will grow in loving intimacy with God.
May we give ourselves to God’s love, God’s mission and God’s kingdom this week. may you know the big story of which you are a part and the relatively small, but beautiful and vital, role you have to play in it.
Grace and peace.