For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

 

There is an admission that I feel I need to make. I am actually a lot more distractible than I would ever like to think that I am. I lose sight of what matters, what is most important, too often and much too easily. Thoughts and ideas come along, and I go off in pursuit of them in a matter of moments. Issues arise, and I engage with them full on and go chasing after understanding and resolution before taking a moment to breathe and to listen to the Spirit’s direction. When these things happen, I can find myself miles from home, winded from the chase, and wandering defenselessly in a foreign land. Frequently this strange place is one where my actions and my manner of treating other people are not reflective of Christ. This is the territory where anger, incivility, and bitterness dwell, and none of these are the air that a follower of Christ should be breathing in to inform my heart and my mind.

 

So, I repent of this distractedness of mind and of the lack of faithfulness of heart that establishes it. I know the fundamental truths of the Gospel of Christ that Paul states here, but I don’t always take hold of them with such focus that they are truly “of first importance.” That is the key element in what the Apostle is saying. He was writing about the divisions that were happening in the church in his days, and in response to them, Paul directed the people of Christ’s body to look closely at what brought them together in the first place. This point of gathering in was Christ in the fullness of His sacrifice, which entailed the surrender of His position of power and majesty, the acceptance of mockery and death, and then in its aftermath, the resurrection to life that demonstrated God’s utter superiority over all else on earth and in the heavens. Jesus, the Christ, with His message of the Gospel is the center of all that we believe as Christians.

 

So, it must be the center of all that I think and do, as well. In placing the eyes of my heart squarely and singularly on Christ, I am looking outside of myself and away from my fears and concerns so that God’s truth overcomes the mental and the emotional clutter that our culture and my own mind create. With my eyes on Christ, it is much harder to see the differences that divide us inside of Christ’s family of faith, and these other people start to look more like the brothers and sisters that they are in fact. We live in times where truth and faithfulness to the Gospel are being challenged routinely. The air that surrounds us is polluted by fear based and defensive expressions of disunity and distrust, and I find that I do buy into spreading that sort of fouled air. So, I am committing here to turn my eyes and my heart toward Christ with my primary expression being that of the truth of His Gospel. Then, my wandering heart will be grounded in what is truly “of first importance.”

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