Friday, December 14, 2007

Jesus. . .The Good Guy?

Once, I asked my youth, "have you ever seen Jesus in the life of someone else? Who was it and what Christ-like qualities did you see in their life?" As I began to listen to their answers it didn't take long before I noticed a trend forming.

Their answers were things along the lines of "they're really nice", "they treat everyone fairly", and "they are generous with their money". As I heard these answers I began asking myself do they really know what Christ-like qualities are? God isn't nice, He's holy. God isn't fair, He's just. God doesn't just give us what we want, He blesses us with what we need. The problem I saw was that there was a big mix up, some confusion, concerning their understanding of what "Christ-like qualities" were. Let me explain. . .

Most people have some understanding of what is good and what is evil that would be universally agreed upon (another words, no matter who you asked they would agree that it's good or evil). For example, few would argue against the consensus that murder is evil and few would argue against the consensus that rape is evil. But there are tons of things out there that people will never be at a consensus as to whether certain things are good or evil.

So how do we know what's good and what's evil?

Most people use the "what feels right at the moment" method. Some people use the "what's good for me might be bad for you and what's bad for me might be good for you" method. People have all kinds of ways to determine what they think is good and evil.

God's people aren't supposed to look at good and evil like this because there's a difference between what the world calls "good" and "evil" and what God says is good and evil. And the methods of figuring out what is good and evil, between the world's way and God's way, are vastly different. With God's way, it's simply whatever God says. If He says it's good then it is and if He says it's evil then it is.

Going back to my youth group. . .their problem was that when they were asked "what Christ-like qualities do you see in the lives of others" what they really heard was "what 'good' qualities do you see in the lives of others" and so their answers were all about "good" things according to the world's standards. I asked my youth, "Can you find any of the qualities you gave me, as being Christ-like, in the Bible?" I think they began to get my point.

In order for us to be Christ-like we can't just be "good" people. We have to be like Christ. That is what makes us stand out in the world. That is how people will see Jesus living in us.

If a person doesn't truly understand, or know, what Christ-like qualities are then how will they. . .
  1. . . .see these qualities in other people?
  2. . . .be able to exam their own behavior?
  3. . . .keep their brothers and sisters in Christ accountable?

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