We lived on an island in North Carolina and the name of the town was Surf City, so you can probably imagine that there was surfing going on. My youngest son and daughter got the bug and so I bought a surfboard and we proceeded to learn to surf. Or at least they did!! My biggest struggle was catching the wave and then standing up on the board and letting that wave push me in to shore. I had surfed when I was much younger and the wave thing was no issue and I got pretty good on the board, but with age comes some restrictions and the surfing thing never happened for me.
Life is kind of like surfing. You know, catching a wave of opportunity, or just learning to ride waves. I have had many waves come by that I never caught for one reason or the other and those opportunities were missed. And now that I am older the waves are getting more and more difficult to find, much less catch. It seems to me that our whole society is a lot like the fraternity I was in. First of all, they reach out to you if they deem you worthy. Then they haze you to see if you are serious about the whole fraternity thing. Then you become a member (if they so choose) and you take this oath that is creepy at best and you have reached your social pinnacle. NOT!! For the lost person this kind of self gratification and self promotion is a natural, but for the Christian not so much. In Romans 12:3. Paul writes 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Boy, now that goes against everything our world teaches and promotes. The world would tell you that you are better than anyone else and that you need to make sure you win everything without fail. The world would say you can even cheat if you believe you are about to lose. It’s easy to see that this type of thinking is the opposite of the teachings of Christ and Paul. In our world the humble get run over and left behind and the prideful get promoted. Notice I said “in our world.” This all leads to narcissism at it’s worst and then Facebook and Instagram. But if you don’t self promote then you will miss the wave! The wave is coming and you have to get on our you will misss…..missed it.
Some Christians have figured out how to self promote and still keep a humble appearance. But only an appearance. And those Christians form groups that keep them in good standing with their egos, but at the cost of what? Well….mainly at the cost of being Godly. In the church in Rome Paul wanted each of them to understand the depth of faith we are to have and live in that faith. That is why he said for us to think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of us. In accordance are two words that really hammer down on the “I’m better than you” thing we see in Christian life. Our sober judgment of ourselves has to be centered around how well we know the ways of the Lord. What it means is to look realistically in our hearts to see how we perceive Christ and our lives. This keeps rich and powerful Christians from elevating themselves above poor and normal Christians. and thus keeps them from lording over others. To do anything less is to position ourselves in a God-like status and believe we are “better” than other Christians because of wealth or political position. That is how the Pharisees and Sadducees, you see, got themselves in a position where they were the decision makers for themselves and for others, no matter what Jesus said about humility and Godly living. They took the gospel and God’s word and distorted it to make their argument about being better have more “teeth.” But it was still wrong……
Here is how Jesus perceived them in Matthew 23:27 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Are you whitewashed? A tomb is a place where they bury dead people, so that would mean if you are like this “you are dead.” Wow, talk about missing the wave? The wave we need to be catching is the “wave of the Spirit.” It is the wave that comes from a heart sold out to Christ and wants to glorify Him through the talents and gifts he has given us. There is true life in that kind of heart and that wave is the one that will take you all the way into the shore. There are few who ever get to the point of being humble and glorifying God. They may lift their hands the highest in worship and sing their loudest with the talent God has given them but their desire to “lift” themselves up too minimizes the effect God wants to have through their life.
Hey, there is a wave coming and you have the choice to ride it our not. On this wave is a great desire to serve Christ whether you get praise for it or not. You won’t be on the latest news cast riding that wave, but you will receive the imperishable crown in glory. Look at what 1 Corinthians 9:22-25 says 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. This a much different perspective than you will learn from a lost and dying world. This perspective is based on your identity in Christ and He becomes the wave you can get on and ride to shore. Christ alone.
The church in Corinth had a lot of new believers who really wanted to position themselves for greater things by making themselves look better, but their insides were messed up. Paul had to constantly remind them of the example of Jesus in order to keep them from distorting the message of Christ. For you and me it is simple. God wants us to give our lives as an offering to Him and glorify Jesus alone with the talents He has given us. No cliches, no clubs, no inner circles. Very OPEN! Just each of us developing that individual relationship with Christ and taking on the characteristics of our Savior. Anything less is a wave to destruction. I’m not going to ride that wave. I want to be on the spiritual surfboard. The real spiritual surfboard. Not a worldly meme, But a Jesus Meme.
The pilgrimage continues….