What is being a Christian all about? Sometimes even Christians imagine that being a Christian means to have a certain ideology which contains a political or social agenda that would solve the country’s problems. Others consider Christianity the best way to attain Your Best Life Now as if believing certain Christian-like truths will make them more successful, more popular and give them more control over their lives. Some think that being a Christian gives them an intellectual upper-hand that they can enjoy because it makes them feel smarter than everyone else. While others find Christianity as the pathway to financial independence and wealth so that they don’t have to ever rely on anyone else.
But the Scriptures teach a different substance and meaning of the Christian Life that does not consist in a political agenda, an economic solution, nor does it impart a pathway to success, popularity or financial independence. And it certainly is not the way to put you more in control of your life or to give you power over others. So then what does it mean to be a Christian? Being a Christian is about an ongoing intimate encounter with The Risen Savior who will progressively intertwine your heart with His so that you love what He Loves and grieve over what grieves Him. Jesus Christ is about making “little Christs” (Christians) whose hearts are so captured by the grace of the gospel that Christ becomes their who? what? where? when? and why? For Jesus the meaning of being a Christian is that He would become your identity, significance, destination, direction, and motivation. He becomes your Everything.
So if you’re looking for Peace with the Righteous Judge of the Universe, if you want to be washed of your guilt, and given a new identity to replace your shame, if you’re willing to live dependently passing the control of your life to another, and if you want to live forever in the full enjoyment of God for all eternity, then Christianity is for you!
Do we sometimes get caught up in placing our hope in our conservative or liberal way of looking at Theology, the Bible, Politics and the World and miss the main thing? I think sometimes we place our too much faith in our ideological lenses which influence our vision, magnify some issues over others and curb our fears (whatever they may be). We can talk too much about “being conservative” or “being liberal” or even “being moderate” that we sometimes fail to come back to a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. What has me thinking about this today is my study of a righteous and devout man from Jerusalem named Simeon who was waiting for God to console Israel’s sorrows and met a six-week old Baby Jesus, as he was promised, before he died.
Simeon was part of a group of people called “The Quiet in the Land” who had a unique way of viewing the Coming of the Kingdom of God. Unlike the Pharisees (the conservatives or “religious right” of the day) who believed if Israel would only keep the Law perfectly for one day the Kingdom would come. And unlike the Sadducees (the liberals or progressives of the day) who were not so much interested in the kingdom as they were motivated by influencing public policy so that they might retain their wealth and political influence. “The quiet in the land” (neither conservative or liberals) thought of the Kingdom in terms of quiet devotion to God through prayer and patience. Through spiritual eyes they saw the depth of Israel’s lost state and spiritual sadness and knew that only the Lord’s Messiah could bring them deep happiness. Only a small number of these folks are known to us namely: Simeon, Anna, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John the baptist, Mary, Joseph and perhaps their families.
So while nearly the whole nation of Israel was unbelieving and even irreligious (much like today) and the religious denominations were either morally self-righteous or politically self-righteous (no wonder they rejected him) there remained a small remnant of sincere followers of Yahweh whose hope was simply placed in the coming of the King to establish His Kingdom. We can learn a lot from Simeon, a righteous and devout man of no reputation, a societal oddball, neither “a liberal” nor “a conservative” but one who was waiting for the consolation of Israel with sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 11:3 strikes my heart today, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Let’s not be led astray from devotion to Christ even by our well-intentioned religious and political orientations.