I have a confession. I have always had a natural bend toward legalism. Especially the first couple decades of my life.
Some might say that growing up in a Christian family, school & church is the cause. I don’t buy it. Yes, each environment was rigid and full of rules. Obviously all of those people and places played a huge role in shaping who I am, but this is not an indictment of any of them. I am extremely grateful for my parents, pastors and professors. My hope is to raise my own kids in the same types of environments.
I grew up believing that not only is the Bible true, it is the source of Truth. I believed that God is a Holy God who hates sin and in fact, our sin makes us enemies with God. I believed that people who do not begin a relationship with Jesus will be eternally separated from God.
Don’t worry… this is not where I go rogue and disown all of those things. Although I have been accused at times.
Over past decade God has taken this pharisee on a quite the journey. It started with a murder trial and hearing the words “guilty” about a best friend. Family members having babies outside of marriage. A sibling transitioning to another sex. Loved one’s addicted to drugs. All of which are BIG NO-NO’s in the life of a legalist. These were all people I loved dearly, yet dealing with issues I had deep convictions about. Undoubtably as I clung to and vocalized my “positions” on their predicaments it created opportunity for fractured relationships.
Over the past decade when it comes to my thoughts on who God is, the authority of Scripture, sin and the fallen state of humans…
…My position has not changed, but my posture has…
As I have grown a bit older and hopefully wiser, I have realized that often times persecution comes when we are more concerned with our position on issues than we are with our posture toward people. (I don’t need to try and convince you of this, just spend 2 minutes reading your Facebook/Twitter timeline.) I am reminded of the old saying, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” I don’t think people care much about your position until you care more about you posture.
I am not suggesting that this is the “magic bullet,” but I am convinced that it is the way of Jesus. Obviously Jesus held some pretty strong convictions, but He always seemed to take on a posture of humility. While most of the religious people around Him were most worried about His position, He seemed to be just as concerned with His posture. Yet at the same time, His positions on tough issues were never compromised. Whether it was saving the life of an adulterous woman, washing the dirty feet of his disciples, dinner with a man He knew would betray Him, and the list goes on.
So often over the past few years I keep being lead back to Philippians 2:1-8. Probably because I need to be humbled and reminded of it daily. I have shared it before and I will share it again…
Philippians 2:1-8 and reminded of the humility of Christ.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
The God of the Universe who gave up His privilege to hang out with people. Flawed people. People who rejected Him. People He loved deeply and daringly.
I don’t know about you, but that scripture is challenging and convicting to me. While most days it shakes me, my prayer is that it would shape me.
Yes, Your position/conviction matters… but your posture might matter more.