I do not write entirely alone. As Pascal
reminds us in Pensees, "Some authors, when
talking of their works say, my book,
my commentary, my history, etc. I recommend them
to say, our book, because in general they contain much more
of what belongs to other people than to themselves."
(from Journey of Desire by John Eldredge pg vii)
The following post has been inspired once again by the life and words of Bonhoeffer as expressed by Eric Metaxas. I went back to find the quote I wanted to use and I reread much of what Bonhoeffer said and the explanations by Eric and I began to realize many of "my thoughts" for this post were direct out workings of what was written. The line became very blurred that I could no longer distinguish my own ideas from theirs. The good news is that I hope it has transferred from merely head knowledge to something I am living out of the heart. The hard part, however, is to write and give correct acknowledgements. Hence the need for the quote above, the following post is "our commentary."
The religion of Christ is not a tidbit after one's bread, on the contrary,
it is the bread or it is nothing. People should at least
understand and concede this if they call themselves Christians.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (69)
I have been reflecting on this concept ever since I read it a month ago. The following is what I wrote in my journal on Sunday:
God is not an additive.
Religion adds God to life; fits Him in.
Christ, however, is the all in all,
the Beginning and the End (Revelation 1:8).
He is in everything (Acts 17:27-29).
Our acts of faith are not
to repay God for Jesus' death
but rather they should be
an outward expression
of an inner existence.
He, Christ, causes a strengthening and solidifying of our heart and faith,
and a drawing closer to Him which in turn makes us whole
and connects us to others.
If you've been around Christianity for awhile you will see a lot of "religion;" people being driven by guilt of never doing enough for God. People frustrated of never being holy enough for God. I think this is a result of a fundamental misunderstanding of who Christ is and what it means to have Him in our lives.
How do you become holy?
Did you say by you trying not sin, by you trying to become like Jesus?
Or did you say through Jesus?
Jesus, who makes people holy.
I understand that it is confusing because the end goal, to be holy, is the same in both methods. But the starting point is entirely different. Is your Christianity driven by you and your efforts or is it Jesus living through you in everything?
God is the One who made all things, and all things are for his glory.
He wanted to have many children share His glory,
so he made the One who leads people to salvation perfect through suffering.
The Father wants to share His glory with us. He wants to do this through our daily lives. He didn't ask us to do it by our own strength or efforts but instead He invited us to follow Jesus Christ. Finally, He invites us to walk it out through Him in joy not guilt (Philippians 4:12).
I can doubtless live with or without Jesus as a religious genius,
as an ethicist, as a gentleman... Should, however, there be something in Christ
that claims my life entirely... then Christ has not only relative but absolute
urgent significance with me.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (83)