All of us have had moments in life where we just get on with routines, do the jobs that need doing, and work to pay the bills. Sometimes we can go through periods of our lives where everything just feels a little mundane, perhaps a little boring. Well, as we continue to read Stott’s discussion on Jesus Christ, I think our understanding of those mundane moments should be completely transformed. In fact, every part of our lives should be touched and turned back to Christ as we reflect on Him.
In the second half of Life in Christ, Stott looks at the centrality of Christ through four more prepositions; with Christ our secret, unto Christ our goal, for Christ our Lover and like Christ our model.
I was so refreshed and delighted: to be reminded of what it means that we have been, are, and will be, with Christ. We have a glorious home in heaven which awaits us, and where one day we will truly be with Christ. Sadly I find it so easy to lose sight of our eternal home, and get stuck with my gaze focused on things that feel like home here on earth, but as Stott so clearly reminds us,
“We have to learn to be ‘with Christ’ now, by faith and not by sight, in the rough and tumble of earthly duty, before we are taken to be ‘with Christ’ in the everlasting peace of his heaven.”
The everyday tasks that life requires of us are necessary as we wait with hope for the day we will be taken to be with Christ. But even as we wait we have sure and certain guarantees of what is to come. For we have already been with Christ: in his death, in his ascension, and even now in his resurrection we are with Christ. What amazing realities are ours right now before we even reach heaven.
Yet we wait. And in his chapter on ‘unto Christ our goal’, Stott expands on just what this waiting on earth should look like. As Christians, everything (and he means EVERYTHING) should be unto Christ. This is where our ideas of the mundane are transformed!
If we truly work as ones working for Christ, serve as people serving our Lord, clean as people cleaning for Jesus, and live around others as if we were living before Him, wouldn’t all these tasks and moments be completely changed? The mundane would become a task of joy, the boring task a prospect of delight! I know it doesn’t feel like this all the time, but if we took a moment before each of them to remember we’re doing it for the Lord, it should change us. I’ve been trying to do this as I’ve been reflecting on this chapter this week, and I have to say it has made me much more thankful to Jesus, and I’ve found much more meaning in the small tasks I have to do each day.
Similarly, it is right that we live in all things for Christ and his glory. We owe our lives to his love and sacrifice, and therefore it is of course our great joy to serve and honor him!
And the happiest of thoughts is that in all these things, God is working in us to make us more like Christ. This is for our own good, and also so that unbelievers around us see Christ in us. Thankfully this change is not all up to us. The greatest encouragement I found in this chapter was the reminder that becoming like Christ isn’t so much imitation where we seek to live like him as it is reproduction. As Stott says, “we are being changed into the image of Jesus by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit”. We have a helper! We’re not left to this task on our own. Instead we are guided and directed the Spirit of Jesus himself.
Unsurprisingly, it isn’t just the mundane periods of life that Jesus changes; it’s all of our life. And that’s what makes this book such a classic. Stott looks at the centrality of Christ to our selves, our decisions, our churches, our relationships and so much more. This book is worth reflecting on time and again, when things aren’t going so great, and also just as much in those moments when you think you’ve got the Christian life all figured out. I hope this book has been as refreshing for your new year ahead as I feel it has been for mine.