The View From Here

Are You Cheeky?

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Is it cowardly to turn the other cheek? After all, if someone hits me don’t l have the “right” to hit back? But, the Lord tells us that the evidence of our being controlled by Christ is our being in control when we are attacked. Jesus says, “But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matt 5:39)

Jesus is speaking of the very real threat the Jews faced of being struck by Roman soldiers. Under the boot of the Roman government, life was hard for those who were considered second-class. If Jesus said we should turn the other cheek when we are struck by an enemy, what should we do when we are offended by a brother?

How much more ought we to be willing to say to ourselves what Phil 1:29 says: “For to you it has been granted, for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” So, we begin to understand that it is the Lord's honor that is at stake and our response will either please Him or grieve Him.

Insisting on our rights, the right to be understood, the right to get even, the right to have our own way misplaces the spotlight. We are not the center of the universe, Jesus is. Our rights are not the issue, His will is. And if we properly understand our role it is to bring glory to Him regardless of the suffering we may endure in the process.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy spiritual retirement, we are here so to realize Jesus Christ that the body may be built up.” Chambers reminds us that our goal is not to live only for our own spiritual interests. Rather, we are to live for Christ only and endure whatever inconvenience or sacrifice is necessary to achieve that goal.

The key, then, to a healthy church (or marriage or job or being a good citizen) is to never carry a grudge. The real issue is not whether we are right or wrong but how we handle being wronged. Do we fight or do we say, “Lord, for Your sake I bear this and consider it an honor to be a part of the suffering you endured.” A slave is not greater than his master. (John 15:20)

Posted by Bill Knepper with

The Pursuit of Perfection - Philippians 3

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There is no such thing as a perfect church.  Some laughingly quip, “If you find one don’t join it… you might ruin it.”  Followers of Jesus come to understand that perfection rests not in individual believers or in any group, but in Jesus Christ himself.  At the same time, Christians are supposed to pursue righteousness--perfection.  How is this done?

Paul lived a life in pursuit of perfection.  He had quite the resume and reputation.  While Paul was on his own road, he encountered Jesus Christ, and his pursuit changed.  In his letter to the Church in Philippi, Paul passionately said he put no confidence in personal achievement or ability.  Paul directed all his effort to “know” Christ, to “gain” Christ, and to be “found in Him.”  Paul understood perfection comes not by following rules, but by believing in Jesus.  The pursuit and posture of Paul’s life continued to be perfection, but he did not chase after his own perfection.  Paul chased after Jesus Christ, understanding that as he followed Jesus, Jesus would perfect him.  Paul’s new pursuit took him in the footsteps of Jesus.

The perfect church is not one with perfect people, but with people being perfected as they follow Jesus.  Perfection will come, but not in this life.  Looking for perfection or the perfect church here on this earth is looking for the wrong stuff.  Paul describes the Christian life as a pursuit, an eager expectation.  It is a bit of a wait. 

So, while you wait, what are you doing?  Consider the posture and pursuit of Paul.  Can you describe your wait here on earth as an eager expectation?  He did not spend his time nitpicking his own faults or those of the church, rather he looked for Christ with his mind, heart and with his actions.  He saw himself “in Christ.”  The challenge for us now is to take a test.  We do this as individuals and as a church.  “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves.  Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test” (2 Cor. 13:5).  Take a good look and see who is in control of your life.   Every day is a good day to turn from selfishness, pride, coveting, anger, jealousy and the desire to control everything and everyone around you.  It is called surrender.  It is perfectly done by turning to Jesus.  You may have turned to Jesus once.  Great, you are forever His!  Now you get to keep turning to Him (Rom. 13:14).  Lean forward and pursue!

Posted by Joshua Holland with