My friend, Paul Pavao posted a great blog today about the judgment seat of Christ. We will be judged. It’s true. If you want to follow Christ you have to believe this. It’s all over his teachings… it’s all over the teachings of his disciples.
(so, disclaimer: if you want to debate that, don’t do it here. I’m not inviting it. I think you’re doing yourself a disservice to overlook and write off everything that Jesus and his beloved wrote about this topic. I, however, am no debater. So don’t debate it here. Go back and look. Ignore your theological teachings that have only come from the last 100 years and just look at what Jesus said. It’s really, really clear if you’ll look with the eyes of a child, instead of those of the *wise* and learned)
That stresses me out.
Seriously, I can lie awake at night stressing about whether or not I’m good enough.
This won’t work.
I’m not Shane Claiborne. I’m not Katie Davis. I’m the dad of four amazing little girls who love My Little Pony and love adorning people with gifts… hey, wait a sec. Hmm… I’ll get back to that.
One thing that Paul made clear in his blog post was that there is a big difference between judgment and condemnation. This helps me out a lot. Our culture tends to make the two synonymous. But they’re not. When I look at an apple and an orange, I make a judgment. One is an apple. One is an orange. That is my judgement, and my judgement is true. (see what I did there?)
When I decide to drink a smoothie instead of make greasy hash browns, I’m making a judgment. When I love a friend who is falling into sin, I have to make a judgment in order to even love them. “Hey, you’re not being who God made you to be… take my hand… get up… let’s go back to the Father.” That’s a good judgment.
But then there’s condemnation. “Hey, you’re a jerk.”
There’s no out. No hope. You’re labeled and done.
Make sense? Cool… on we go.
In Christ, the reality is that we still own our actions. We still are responsible for what we do with our skin. God isn’t pretending we’re good when we’re not. No, when we choose to confess Christ as King and Lord, to accept that truth and reality in our lives, we are in the family of God. We’re adopted. Dad doesn’t damn his kids as long as they’re willing to stay under his rule and leadership. It’s simple logic.
He’s not the pagan God needing a sacrifice to appease his anger and then somehow magically transforms himself into his own son to… er… appease himself and torture… uh… what the heck. Messed up logic.
Yes, logic… God gave it to us. It’s okay to use it. His way is simple. He’s King, (with a capital K) Lord, Friend, Brother… he’s family. You can blow off family. You can cut yourself off from family. You can do your own thing. If he didn’t want us to have that freedom, there wouldn’t have been that pesky tree in the garden. He longs for our freedom, and he longs for our fellowship.
His family is amazing. And his judgment is just. But to separate those two words, condemnation and judgment, truly gave me a better look at the difference.
Why am I saying all of this… well, there was another part of the post that caught my attention.
“You will rise from spiritual death into spiritual life; old things will pass away; all things will become new; you will become his workmanship, created in King Jesus to do good works, just the ones that God has prepared in advance for you to do.”
Wow. Seriously, take a sec to look at that whole sentence, let it sink in. Go about your business for a while and then come back.
…. go on …. no, don’t keep reading, go back and look at it and go away… I’ll see you in a bit…
We good? Okay, cool.
So, that statement, that you and I were created in King Jesus to do great things, things that God planned specifically with us in mind.
I tell my girls all the time that God loves creating. They love creating because God loves to create. I think we all love to create in one way or another. You’re made in His image after all. You’re made as a sign post, reflecting a tiny piece of the creator of the universe. That’s who you are. Like it or not, it’s who you are and you won’t be happy being anything but that. It’s like a dog trying to be a cat. It won’t work out.
He’s designed you to be with him in making all things new.
When I hear that statement, that he’s made specific things for me to do, there’s a sweet thing that rises up in me. I was made to be me, and I’ve got awesome stuff to do that no one but me has to do. I’m not supposed to be just like Katie Davis, Shane Claiborne, David Servant or Paul Pavao. I’m meant to be me.
Each day, I get the privilege of waking up and hanging out with the King of the universe, look him full in the face and say, “What are we doing today…” Just like Jesus did. And he’ll show me, guide me, through speaking to my innermost being, as well as through his body, the church, who I am and what I’m meant to be. I can trust that. But the second I start comparing… the moment that I take my eyes of his and start comparing myself to his other children, other parts of his living, breathing body, I become like Peter on the water. If I look my Lord square in the face and let him call out to me… if I believe that his Word gives life and I can do anything he says I can do, then I can do it. But if I look around me, at the raging waters, I will only sink.
These are true things that I can rest in. I may not revolutionize a homeless shanty town in downtown Philly, but I may raise little girls who will care for the hurting around them. I may not adopt orphans in Africa, but there are young ones here, right in my midst that need a good papa who cares. The accuser loves to get us thinking we’re not good enough, or this enough, or that enough. But am I me enough? Am I picking up the things that are mine?
It could be easy to miss the small things that are mine, trying to do the big things that are somebody else’s.
May you look at the Father, rest in his body. Enjoy being you, within his body and believe that together, each of us being who we are, we can be Christ in the earth.
May you never despise the amazing, small things he’s given you to do today. If every single one of us does our small little thing, today, the world will see his huge, corporate body standing tall tomorrow.