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Change Your Filter

By: Caleb Camp

 

When I first became a follower of Jesus, 2 Corinthians 5:17 (17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!) was a really important verse. I had so much “old” that needed to go away. Some of it fell away instantly, and some of it took decades to finally die because it took me that long to learn how to let go of it.

But the verses just before this one, also talk about being new. Their focus however, is a newness of sight, evaluation and judgement. Part of what has been made new in Christ, is how we see, interpret and interact with the world.

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

Because Christ’s love has changed us, we are compelled to live for him. Because we live for him, we are to “regard no one” from a worldly point of view.

So, when I see the world losing it’s mind, I can assess through my flesh, and get fear, anxiety, anger….you name it. Or, I can choose to walk by the Spirit and ask for eyes to see things the way that God does. This will set me up to love people I might normally be inclined to distance myself from. This will enable me to have peace in any situation. I still stand strong in the convictions that have been informed by Scripture and empowered by Spirit, but I get to do so in ways that might actually make people pause and wonder.

In fact, they might pause and wonder if I’ve lost my mind too. How can you sit there and not….fill in the blank. Thankfully, this passage addresses that too, but it’s not alluding to us acting like maniacs:

13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.  We are out of our mind, because we’ve chosen the death of self so that we can be “in our right mind” for others! It’s right there in Scripture.

When we are in our right mind, fulfilling the call to be a minister of reconciliation is much easier.  What is the ministry of reconciliation? It spells it out for us right in this passage:  “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”  We are called to be vessels that draw others, not vessels that repel.

This verse is crazy challenging.  It says that in Christ, God wasn’t counting sins against people!  That is crazy!  How could a just God not count sins against somebody, especially some of those sins that are “really bad”?  Because, when He sent Jesus, he created the opportunity for our sin to be imputed to Jesus, and Jesus’ righteousness to be impute to us!  Why is it that sometimes we feel like we must make sure people know their sins are counted against them before we extend mercy and grace?  Mercy triumphs over judgement, right?  We have a higher call.  The goal of following Jesus isn’t being right, it’s becoming more like Jesus.

And that is exactly what I want…to be more like Jesus. He loved the unloved with unwavering truth. People felt loved, validated and convicted. They didn’t feel condemnation, and they felt the need to be changed. In his own words in John chapter 8, “10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I heard a clip on YouTube yesterday, “The truth will set you free, but the problem is that it destroys everything that isn’t worthy in you as it sets you free.”

Truth and Love are not ideologies, they are the embodiment of God in the person of Jesus. He will embrace a person living any lifestyle, without condemnation. That is the Good News. Once he has touched a soul, He will also send them out with the charge of being someone altogether new and tell them to leave their life of sin. That is also the Good News!

Jesus loves you fiercely! He participated in the process of fearfully and wonderfully making you in the image of all that is good, the image of God. He loves you enough to engage you in the life you are living now, while at the same time propelling you into a life that fulfills your true purpose and meaning.

Father, give us a new filter.  Let us understand the people and things that are around us, the way that You understand them.  Help us rise up with compassion, mercy and love and be yielded vessels, that are a conduit of your grace, for the good of the people and the glory of Your name.