By Heather Allen-
A few weeks ago our plumbing had a run of unfortunate events.
Early one morning I leaned in to the shower and realized it had not drained from the previous shower. I opened my mouth to groan but a verse came out instead. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). I swallowed a mouthful of irritation and croaked my thanks for indoor plumbing.
The next morning I woke to find that our hot water heater was not working properly. Thanks for indoor plumbing I mumbled through blue lips. I have to admit I have become an expectant wimp. Where is the thanksgiving for the other days that start with a hot shower, full belly, and the best cup of coffee in town?
Christ left Heaven for Earth and He did not even have a place to lay His head. He was looked down upon. He was called a drunkard and a glutton. But He knew who He was and why He had come. As I work my way through the book of Matthew and consider Christ’s words, I find a priority list slightly different than my own. Christ said that He only does what the Father instructs Him to do. He said give up your life if you want to find it. He says follow me. And when the day came to lay His life down in obedience, He did so. He is God and He chose to walk among us for thirty-three years, poor and rejected.
I don’t think modern Christianity lines up well with Jesus’ instructions. Because there is a lie we tell ourselves, and it goes something like this: I deserve this. I deserve a nice house, a nice car, to do what I want, to watch what I want, to respond how I want. I deserve to be treated with kind respect and even preference.
I think we tend toward what is permissible rather than what is beneficial. And I wonder what this attitude has cost. If I pursued holiness like I pursue my comfort zone I would be a different person.
I long to be different.
I yearn to imitate a God who does the unexpected and never tries to woo us with a good reputation. We would have been drawn by power, looks and wealth.
He was born in a stable. He did not have anything that would cause us to desire him. He knows humanities tendency to be drawn by outward appearance and lovingly preferred us by coming in humble fashion.
He showed us what was important by the way He lived, and it was not reputation building, it was humble obedience.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8 NIV).
Philippians 2 goes on to say that the result of Christ’s humility was exaltation, a name above every name, and every knee bowing before
He laid His life down freely and He says we should do the same. May He enable us, through His great strength, to give up our lives to follow Him.