Otherness

Over the past few weeks I have noticed a trend within our church that, when fully appreciated and unleashed, can truly change the life of our faith community, the immediate world we share here at home and the entire world.  More and more I am noticing that many in our church are developing the great spiritual practice of looking beyond your own selves and moving to meet the needs of others.  I don’t think we always understand the implications of such a lifestyle change on us as individuals.  If we did we would be motivated by “otherness” and nothing else.

More than anything else we may do in this life, becoming “other-centered” is the lifestyle that makes us most like our Lord and Savior, for that is precisely what Jesus did when he came to us.  We all should know the Philippians 2 passage that reads,

5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Christ Jesus was completely “other-centered” when he came to us to reconcile us with God the Father.  Now we cannot be the savior of all humankind and creation, but we can simply imitate with our life, the life of our Savior.

But we also see in the passage that as he was completely “other-centered” in his life and mission, he was at the same time centered on God and his will.  It was the desire of God’s heart that his son empty himself and act to redeem his creation, beginning with man.  So as Christ Jesus lived an “other-focused” life, he was, at the same time, focused on the will and desire of The Father.  All of this occurs out of the limitless love the Father and Son direct to one another.  Our lives are no different before the Father:  we live a life of “otherness”, rather than for ourselves, and we imitate Christ in relationship to the Father – in loving him and in offering the ministry of reconciliation on his behalf.

This practice of “otherness” is the evidence of a transformed life.  The more we live it, the more we understand that the power of God is given to those who believe in His Son, so that they may imitate the Son.  As we live a life of “imitating Christ”, the power of God is unleashed on the world through us.  This is God’s intention for your life and when actively lived out, becomes a fragrant offering to him, pleasing to him.

SO:

Keep stepping up to lead when you see the need for leadership.

Keep giving to meet the needs of the poor and needy right here in our town.

Keep looking for and then fulfilling ministry needs on our community.

Keep offering your skills and talents to meet the needs of the church (the church needs (people AND buildings) are important too!)

Keep increasing your hunger for the Word and Worship (for in these you will come to more fully appreciate your indwelling desire to share the Gospel of Jesus AS your life!)

…  And pray that such a life becomes the desire of every person in our church!  Pray they too know the blessing of “otherness.”

Blessings!  Mark Carroll