In this time of the COVID 19 pandemic, I don’t know about you, but it’s been very difficult to “fix my thoughts on Jesus.” With all the over the top media coverage, and expert opinions changing everyday…it’s hard not to fixate on the fear and uncertainty of the situation. Couple that with the limits that’s been placed on meeting as a body of Believers, and I wonder if this dry spell spiritually is God’s wake up call? We are told here to fulfill our calling…a calling of holiness and sanctification according to His purpose in our lives. We are to fight the good fight of faith, (I Timothy 6:12) striving always for God’s perspective, not ours. When we fix our thoughts on Jesus rather than the world…our soul is brought into balance, priories become clear, and God’s lofty plan and purpose is revealed. But if we continue to sit in the corner looking at our belly-buttons…totally self-absorbed in our fears…we won’t be able to see or participate in God’s work. This is called being a nominal or lukewarm Christian…and God has no use for those type of people. This is the time to fix our thoughts on Jesus, not veering to the left or right, but looking fully into His face with trust and hope. For in the next months, the Church as we know it will have to adapt and change, and we’ll have to change with it. But God will be raising up people to accept this challenge…people with a eternal vision. To quote A.W. Tozer, “They serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.” The time of lukewarm Christianity is coming to an end.
Our journey with the Lord is not a one and done event. Ours is not to be a stagnant life once we say “Yes!” to Jesus Christ. No, our Christian walk is suppose to be a always advancing, ever increasing effort to become more Christ-like. This progressive sanctification is simply growing in the knowledge of God, (Ephesians 3:17) and applying the truths of the Gospel into our everyday life. And as we continue to live in Him, He is faithful to continue to fill us…for our walk with God will never be fully realized until that day we walk through those Heavenly gates.
Paul was more than just encouraging his fellow Believers here…he was beseeching and imploring them to take that decisive and dedicated step called sanctification. Why? When we first become a Christian we tend to hold on to parts of us that are comfortable, easy, or allow us to cope. But as we journey along with the Lord, He starts to demand we separate ourselves from those things. This process can be painful, but necessary for us to fully become God’s. Holiness or sanctification is being totally His…with nothing withheld…and Paul recognized that this was not only God’s Will but the very least thing we could do in view of the Lord’s sacrifice for us. (I Corinthians 6:20)
We are to live in harmony with all. Not with just those we like…not with those who only believe as we do. No, we are to live in peaceful co-existence with everyone. Jesus came preaching the Gospel of Peace, not that of elitism, isolation, or hatred. It’s a tough road though to love your neighbor as yourself…for many around us are unlovable. That’s why the second part of this verse is so important. We may not be able to change the unlovable around us, but we can change ourselves and how we interact with them. Sanctification or holiness is the ongoing process of becoming more like Christ Jesus everyday…of looking at all people – even the unlovable- through His eyes.