Do we want to be liked so much by the world, our peers, that we are willing to not love them? That is a question I am currently wrestling with. As I engage the world in a new context, through new employment, I am confronted with this reality all over again. We are created as social creatures, in the image of a God who is a community of persons in the Triune life. I think it is quite natural to want to be accepted, to have the opportunity for socialization among our peers; whether that be in our families, at church, at school, or work. But Christians have a different perspective about social engagement, it is never an end in itself, at whatever level. Our calling is to be set apart even as we are the most worldly people on earth; most worldly in the sense that Christ became one of us, and all of us in the Incarnation. So not only do we have the challenge of being in the world, and not of the world (in one sense), we have the challenge of being lights in the world, and for the world, in a way that always keeps the love of God in Christ as the frame of reference through which we engage others; whether that engagement be at the level of home/family life, or whether that be among our non-believing peers who hate Jesus by their lifestyle, if not their words.
After I had cancer, and made it through what should have been a terminal cancer (statistically), it only reaffirmed what the Lord had already been working in my life for many years prior; that I am not my own, that I have been bought with a price, the price being the precious and imperishable blood of Jesus Christ. And in this possessing of my life, on his part, I have been impressed over and again that whether I live or die, I am the Lord’s, and it is for him and from him and his resurrected life that I have the resource and perspective to press on as one ‘sent out’ as I participate in the sent out life of God in Jesus Christ through his heavenly priestly session that he lives in for those who not only have but who will inherit his life eternal. I have come to realize, even though the shadows of this world system impinge upon the clarity of my realization, that I am only here for a short time, and in this short time I can only be an ambassador for Christ, I can only do good for him and from him in this particular moment, if indeed I redeem the time now; since today is the day of salvation!
If I am going to live with a perspective that is outside of myself, that is alien to my own ‘down to earth’ perspective, that flows from Immanuel’s veins, I will be more concerned with loving others, and losing myself, that I might find myself with Christ as I serve others through proclaiming the Gospel in and through every inch of my body and tongue. I will not be concerned with being liked by others, even if that happens, I will be more concerned about other’s well-being in Christ; since I realize, by faith, even if they don’t that they have been given an abundant life that the enemy continually is seeking to rob, kill and destroy. I will understand that the things of this world grow faintly dim in the light of Christ’s glory and grace; and at the same time realize that the things of this world are the very things that Christ came to redeem. My mission then, in Christ, is to tell the world what has happened to it; to invite it to a repentant life, and to begin to enjoy the abundant life that God in Christ desires for all, for the many.