Letting Character Lead

Several years ago I went to a conference called, ‘Building Men for the Body of Christ’. At the beginning of the conference it struck me how the concern was not so much for ‘doing’ something for our families and our churches as much as ‘being’ something for them.

Jesus said, 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Matthew 5:3-9

I see Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 as very helpful when I think about that.  Although the folks described in verses 3-7 will be doing things, Jesus focuses on who they are as people.  They are poor in spirit.  They are gentle.  They are merciful.  These folks are something, and the things they do flow out of that.  It makes me wonder how often I flip that around and ‘do’ things trying (and sometimes I am not really trying at all) to become them.

Have you ever thought about how making ‘doing’ such a priority is a form of legalism?  It’s a seductive legalism that creeps into our lives that makes ‘doing’ as our focus. It becomes the thing that we believe makes us a good person. We go to meetings. We get involved in ministry.  We go to Bible studies and fellowships and the like in order to ‘do’ the Christian life.  The seduction is that ‘doing’ replaces ‘being’.  The legalism is that we raise these activities to God as our means of acceptance and love instead of simply the shed blood of Jesus. We are performing, and as long as we feel our performance is okay we feel accepted.

Yet, like all seductions, once we are fully hooked we discover the pain of the lie.  ‘Doing’ becomes something that we do without ‘being’.  It becomes empty.  It replaces fellowship with Jesus.  It becomes a burden, a chore.  Then, we begin chasing a forever elusive acceptance.  It becomes not enough to be a child of the King.  We have to be a child who studies or serves or leads or some other spiritual activity.  We lose our sense of God’s pleasure with His child.  There are only two destinations to this delusion: pharisaism or burn out.

This week consider whether you have been majoring on ‘doing’ things to be approved by Christ or whether you have been ‘being’ His child whose life flows out of who you are.  Be a child of God.  Know His love.  Then, simply live out of that character!

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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