Friday, 20 September 2013

Get Down!

Before you feel the need to contend that I am the least qualified person to consider this essential Christian character, let me avoid such contention ugliness and concede. I am most definitely unqualified to promote this. But it must be promoted. The time is now urgent for all followers of the Nazarene to get down. 
Our culture shares its air. It breathes it in deeply. This air is rich in self-absorption. And like physical air, this cultural air is comprised of various gases including: self-esteem, awesomeness, self-confidence, image-is-everything, ego-centricity and rampant materialism. We usually appreciate it when things are shared with us, but in this instance it is a most unwelcome act of generosity on the part of our surrounding culture - because our redeemed spirit-lungs cannot fully breathe this air. Truth be told, neither can our culture which inhales it so deeply! Followers of the Nazarene must filter this cultural air. We are made to breath an air quite different from the one that nearly fills the world's atmosphere. But this clean, fresh, pure air is only available down low. We must get down to breath it.
¶ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you
First Peter 5:6
Jesus got down. He showed us how to breath properly. He wouldn't breath His culture's air. Even in His day culture imbibed self-absorption. Yet Jesus challenged it at every turn. Commencing with choice of parents, Christ the King of Kings was not born to an earthly king, instead He was born to the impoverished descendent of a king. When the required offerings were presented to the Temple to thank God for His birth, His parents couldn't afford the full-priced offering so they offered up the meagre offering allowed for the poorest of the poor. Standing in an offering line at the Temple presenting goats, sheep, oxen, this distinguished Joseph and Mary from the others and brought the unavoidable stigma associated with lack. When Jesus left home at the age of 30, He only had one garment to His name (for which His crucifying captors later contested and gambled for). Blessed with the knowledge of who He really was, Jesus was frequently criticized, misunderstood and maligned - yet He rarely sought to respond to it. At times this meant that thousands of people publicly turned away from Him.
¶ After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?"
John 6:66-67
Not only did Jesus buck the system of the culture dependent on being prominent and it's equally vile opposite: self-seeking shyness, He also taught against it. At the core of His teaching is His summons for all people, of all tribes/nations/languages, toget down by humbling themselves. In fact, to be a follower of the Nazarene can not commence unless it begins with humility. And unlke me, when Jesus taught on humility He was infinitely qualified to do so. 
To be reconciled to God, cannot commence unless we come to Jesus - the Great Stone - and lay our lives down on Him. By doing this we become broken. At this divine summons the air of culture reeks with - "Nobody's going to tell me what to do!" "I won't believe there even is a God unless He comes down here and stands in front of me and does a miracle!" The arrogance ofthis air is pungent with a vile spiritual stench and invokes a sombre divine warning that has eternal consequences.
And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him."
Matthew 21:44
But for those prepared to get down and breath a different air there is the surprising discovery that the very thing we thought our pride would deliver was waiting for us down low all the time.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29
The air of culture deludes people. It causes them to push-back whenever the divine summons issued through fellow flawed human messengers calls them to look to The Saviour and acknowledge their unworthiness. It prompts a strong-willed reaction whenever a servant of the Nazarene challenges them to stop breathing such foul air. Such challenges address matters in the heart of the one whose lungs are drunk on cultural air. To get down to where the air is clean and refreshing introduces the humbled to a foreign language filled with the strange sounds of: love, apologise, serve, give, care, consider, correctable, teachable, listen, surrender and sacrifice. This new air clears the fog of the heart and mind where once we lamented that no-one cared for us and causes to begin to care for others and truly see them. But it starts by getting down. 
When you choose to get down it is very, very difficult to feel down. A broken humble heart surrendered to the Nazarene lives for a different purpose than their own happiness. And as most truly happy people have discovered, happiness is the result of something not the something.
¶ Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
First Corinthians 13:4-7
If you're feeling down, get down, get down quickly and breath the fresh air. You'll be glad you did.


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