"Jesus is our common denominator"
A phrase that came to mind the other day. After a quiet time of Bible reading paired with listening to a new album by Kristene Di Marco and staying in a reflective state after listening to a life changing talk by Louie Giglio.... I had this thought in my mind....
When you really put it in context, the cross is the beginning and the end. The cross holds us together, it wipes away our sin and it stands over in in creation - literally!
Jesus is above all things and through Him all things were made. He is leterally our beginning and our end.
(John 1vs 1~5 NIV)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
But the cross also means that through the work of Jesus, we are set free but we also have a responsibility to live for Him and not for ourselves or in our fleshly pleasure!
We are accountable to live in love and loving others!
(Romans 14vs12~18 NIV)
“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.
If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.”
Paul writes this just after he has told us that our lives are lived for God, what we do or don't reflects His position as Lord of our life;
(Romans 14vs7~9 NIV)
“For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”
Living like this is intentional. Our daily choices and the objective of our lives literally reflect Jesus to those who are around us.
The book of Romans was written by Paul. Before following Jesus, Paul was a hard and fast persecutor of Christians. Out of committed diligence to the law, he decided that followers of "the Way" deserved no mercy because they violated his personal but very out-dated view of the law.
When Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, it was dramatic. His eyes were opened, as ours should, to the mercy and love of Christ.
Paul was convicted of his old ways when he lived by the name Saul and immediately began living out the message of the Gospel!
We know that first and foremost, we were created to Love the Lord our God and worship Him wholeheartedly. Following from this, we are to love others because Christ first loved us and it is by this Love that others will know that we are followers of Christ.
(John 13vs35 NIV)
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This is a daily struggle for us who find ourselves immersed the current 'cancel culture.' The attitude of offence and superficial living is rising alongside the addiction to social media, parallel with rising of anxiety that stems our of comparison.
Rather than extending grace and acceptance and opening the doors of God's inheritance to His sons and daughters, we are standing at the door of judgement. We are living in closed 'congregations' rather than open and loving 'communities.'
Are we forgetting that every single person was made in the image of God and through the gift of free will, we have the right to choose Him or not. But when you are living in the Kingdom, whether or not somebody has chosen to shape their life to follow Christ or not, our command is to open our arms and love them. What we may be missing is that love doesn't ignore sin but love disciplines.
Love points to Jesus not to faults!
The essence of Pauls message in the book of Romans is that a relationship (especially with the Lord) is an ongoing, daily, moment-by-moment journey until the very end of time (of which it will never end!). We all reflect a different side of the Lord and the beauty of a family is to live in the uniqueness of who He has made us to be at the very core of our being!
There is no structure or formula that confines our unique character, only that of modelling our lives after Jesus. Our lifelong journey with the Lord as our Heavenly Father reflects that we may not always agree with our brother and sisters, but we will love them always. We must accept them as children of the Lord, withholding our judgement as we direct them the the truth of God's commandments, not being righteous in our own eyes and lording ourselves over others.
This living requires a confidence in who God made us to be. Being bold in following His voice in our OWN lives whilst respecting that the Lord speaks to each of His children in a unique way. We stand guard in the Spiritual battle but we refuse to give the enemy a foothold.
If we see him working his way into our life or the ways of those around us, we confront him with Jesus, not with out own righteousness!
Our differences are designed to reflect the joy and colour and life and brightness and spice that God has drawn into creation, NOT to contradict and condemn others! If we were born in His image, our natural instinct is to love...
Anything that is not done out of an act of love is done out of fear, and fear has NO place in the Kingdom of God.
In 2 Corinthians 13, we are told to test for ourselves to see whether we are acting out of Christ or ourselves. This is not judgement, this is dependancy on Jesus. With kindness and compassion, we direct others to Jesus, but we hold no right to judge because judgement belongs to God alone. He is never unkind and He does not condemns but He certainly redirects.
"What if Jesus" ~ song by Kristene Di Marco
“What if Jesus is okay with
Letting parts of Him remain a mystery?
What if Jesus is just smiling
When I think down here, I must know everything?”
“What if Jesus desires mercy
While I'm busy judging others for their deeds?
'Cause if I have His heart and friendship
Then I must know He loves the liars and the thieves”
Jesus was bold in His actions, but as the Son of God, He held full right to be bold! He disrupted the norm but he lived out the message of the New Testament - that love covers a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4vs8 NLT)
"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins."
If we are to live like Jesus, we must take hold of our differences and embrace them with love and mercy. Not condemning but redirecting our actions to be like that of Jesus.
And it is through this that we see Jesus as our Common Denominator
Here’s the image... You have a friend you love dearly. You worship together, you study the bible together, you have gone through much of life together. But you are two different people, there are things that you do differently, things you may not see eye to eye on....
You could do as culture does, and cut them off because they must be wrong and you must be right because you know… ‘You do you” or “this is my truth” … BUT NO!
You pick up the Cross. You sit on Jesus shoulder, yoked to him with your friend on His other shoulder, also yoked to him. Jesus becomes your common denominator and you are united through love.
He literally, metaphorically and visually becomes your common denominator (think of a mathematical fraction equation, where you need a common denominator to bring the two equasions into a neutral position to be able to progress with the sum). As the arms of the cross extend outwards, they reach to gather the children of God. And the Body of Christ in the centre of the cross reaches to the Father.
What if Jesus deson’t mind our differences, what if He loves them? What if he laughs kindly when we think we are better than our neighbour and says softly, “ come here little child, let me show you the real path of love.”
What if we let our offence and judgement down and finally live in truth! Finally live in real connection
(Galatians 5vs6 NIV)
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
(Galatians 5vs22~26 NIV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
~ X ~