You may think your greatest need right now, with so many strong opinions flying around this world, is to know who is right and who is wrong, that you may choose the right side of an argument. But we all have a greater need, than to know the right thing to do. We need to know the heart of Him, who went to the Cross, not so that He would be right, but so that we, who were his enemies, could be right (Rom.5:10). In the coming days and for the rest of your life, no matter what the issue is, from politics to vaccines to artificial intelligence, information without love cannot bring you to Christlikeness and any decision founded on fear, will never bear the fruit of a decision founded on thanksgiving. You may be convinced that the only issue that matters, is whether it is right or wrong to do a particular thing, but there is something greater at stake, the state of our heart.
- What’s the point of making the right decision, of being right on an issue, when your attitude to those who oppose your position, shows your heart to be full of fear, not love.
- What’s the point of being right, when the Holy Spirit would rather you be wrong, because your idea of ‘being right’ is hindering people from coming to Christ? Listen to what the apostle Paul, full of the Holy Spirit said to the Corinthians, who were so set on being proved right, that they were taking each other to court in front of the world. He said to them; “Would you not rather be wronged? Would you not rather be cheated, than behave like this before the world? (1Cor.6)
- What’s the point of being right, of holding all the right positions on all the right moral issues of the day, only to end up, as far from the heart of God, as the elder brother lecturing his own father on the rights and wrongs of welcoming home the prodigal (Luke 15:29,30)
- What’s the point of being right, when the heart of God, felt by Paul for his Jewish brothers, was to rather be wrong and cursed and cut off from Christ, than for them to perish (Rom.9:3)
- What’s the point of being right, when the very God we claim to serve, is one who chose to be wrong, to be cursed, to be sin, in order that we might become right, in God (John 3:16, 2Cor.5:21)
To be filled with the nature, the Spirit, of Him who is Love, is not to ask, “What should I do, in order to be right?”, but rather it is to ask, “What should I do, in order that my brother be right?” That’s why the church has never matured in Christlikeness by information, but always by the revelation of the love of God (Eph 4:11-16). God’s answer was never to educate our old self, but to put him to death because a self-centred life can never be right in the eyes of God (2Cor.5:17).
Throughout the New Testament, you can find accounts of issues that were as controversial for the believers in Paul’s day, as some of our medical questions today. Some believers in the city of Corinth wrote to Paul to ask about one of these issues; his opinion on the question of whether it was right for a Christian to eat food, (meat in this case), that had been used in pagan temples, to sacrifice to false gods. Like many people today, they probably believed that the answer was a simple Yes or No, because they thought of the act of eating such meat as either right or wrong. All Paul had to do, they thought, was to give them a simple Yes or No. But he didn’t. Instead, we read these words at the beginning of Chapter 8 of his first letter to the Corinthians; “Now about food sacrificed to idols:” and then, instead of a yes or no, we get three chapters explaining why his answer can be yes, or no, because for Paul the fundamental question was not, whether his action made him right or wrong, but rather, what effect would his action have on others?
Do you know the reason, why so many in the Church are so desperate to be right, that they have no problem cursing those whom they see to be the enemies of all that is right? Because they have no revelation of their own righteousness in Christ (Hebrews 5:13), and without that, you will always be trying so hard to be right, that all of your decisions are more about you being right, than others (Rom 10:1-4). But a self-centred life can never be right in the eyes of God. No matter how many issues you are right on, at the end of the day, the self-life can only ever produce a self-ish life (John 3:6).
Don’t be taken in by how passionate and zealous many Christians sound on the great moral issues of the day. No matter how right they sound, if you really want to know if they are being led by the Spirit, listen to the way they speak about their opponents. Do they speak in the language of the One who laid down His life for his? Do they speak the language of thanksgiving? Some of the most zealous Christians on the subjects of morality, have little or no revelation of the things of the Spirit because as long as you are trying to establish your own righteousness, you cannot submit to the righteousness that comes from God; the love that would rather be found wrong, that others would be found right. Where is the love that would rather lose the argument, lose the reputation, or lose the election, than hinder a soul from coming to Christ? Christian, you don’t take the moral high ground by winning. Our Saviour already took that hill by dying. As long as multitudes in the body of Christ remain short-sighted to the point of blindness to His Kingdom (2Peter1:9), they will continue to fight over the Kingdoms of men. Their communities need them to swallow their pride, but they are too busy swallowing camels (Matt.23:24). At the current rate, camels will soon be extinct!
The body of Christ, the Church, has always grown up in Christlikeness, not through the impartation of knowledge, but through the impartation of love. To be filled with the Spirit, is to be filled with the love of God and a thanksgiving that lifts your eyes off yourself. That’s why my answer throughout this year, to all the questions before us, is simply to keep preaching the Gospel, the news that fills men with thanksgiving because the only immunity to the pandemic of unbelief in this world, is thanksgiving!
There is a lot of good advice out there, both on how not to catch the virus and how to get immune to it. There is nothing wrong with taking good advice. Good advice will help you not to catch Covid. But good advice is not enough to stop you catching unbelief because the only immunity to the unbelief in this world, is a level of thanksgiving in your life, that only the Good news of the Gospel can produce,
- a Gospel that reveals you to be right, not because you did the right thing, but because He did,
- a gospel that reveals you to be now right, because you are now right where He wanted you to be; hidden with Christ in God (Col3:3)
Nothing you or I will ever do, will make us as right as that! Only when we start to see that, start to see by the Spirit, can we leave our self-centred life where He left it, in the grave and rise instead every day, to live that others would be right, for that is what it is to live, as the body of Christ.