What if rather than simply thinking of yourself as a follower of Christ you took that another step further—to its logical end—and recalled confidently that being a follower means you have a leader? What if you remembered day-to-day that you have a King who defines your existence?
What if rather than declaring that you wanted to be a person of integrity you put together the logical conclusions mentioned above and declared boldly that you, as a son or daughter of the Most High King, created in the image of God, and yielded to the Leader who defines your existence, can, in fact, settle for nothing less than God’s very best in your life?
What would be the implications of these things for your life . . . your person . . . your day?
Is it possible that thinking along these lines would create for you a new pair of options; or, if not new, at least a clearer set of options? The reductionistic option would be that you awaken every day thinking about your failures and how you are to overcome them; how you are going to “do better” today. Then you begin to tackle the day with this sense that you are on a mission to improve yourself and to prove to yourself that you are, in fact, a good Christian who can live worthily of the Name.
The option amplifying your thinking is to awaken each day not so much consumed with failures and desires to “do good,” but with the restful repose of one who knows to whom he or she belongs. In this option you choose to see yourself through the eyes of the Redeemer, the King who defines you. You enter more fully into the reality of loving the self (as Jesus challenges us in Matthew 22:39). Then, with this pursued according to God’s view of things, loving “your neighbor” (cp. 22:39) takes on a (super)natural progression that ultimately demonstrates a genuine love for God with “all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (22:37).
Both options are available to the believing man or woman. The first option being, however, focused on scrambling and striving—an utterly “my-effort” approach to divine appeasement and approval. This is not only profoundly wearisome but deeply discouraging, ultimately, for despite the attractiveness which is the perceived sense of control it leaves one empty-handed and wounded.
The other option really centers things upon the Master and how He sees things, defines things and does things. It is about His power working itself through and through. It refreshes, it stretches our faith in ways that take us to new levels of depth and maturity, and it channels a powerful measure of authentic love into the realms in which we live. Perhaps this, then, is the sum of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 3:2-3, where he writes, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”