The other week in church we were looking at Joab, David's Commander in Chief. Outwardly it looked like Joab was loyal to David, even fiercely so but whenever David's will was different than Joab's, Joab did what Joab wanted. It seems Joab was firstly loyal to himself. It was like he was committed to David's kingdom but not truly loyal to David personally.
We asked ourselves whether it was possible for us to acknowledge Christ as our God and King but still make Christianity all about ourselves. Could we be very active in religion and doing good but not really be consumed with Christ. I think that answer is yes and worse yet, to be like this is to miss the whole point of Christianity. How many churches and professing saints are busy with all sorts of religious activities but spend little if any time listening to what Jesus says. They are Marthas but not Marys because they don't realize that our first duty is to be consumed with the One we say we love and then let that love be spread abroad in our hearts and form the basis for all we do. Our Lord is not impressed with ritual and activity but wants us to find him to be our primary delight. From this love our lives begin to be transformed into true holiness.
Another way this can be worked out is in our desire to have Christian virtues. Too many times we separate fruits of the Holy Spirit like peace, love, joy, contentment from Christ. It is like Jesus hands us these things if we jump through the right hoops instead of realizing they come with Christ. We feel we don't have enough joy so we grab the latest book on joy and follow the latest methods and expect to be more joyful.
My point is that these things come by worshiping the Lord who is peace and joy and love. Grow in the knowledge of him, grow close to him; develop a life of worship and all these things shall be added to you. If you are not at peace with yourself and seem to be at odds with your brothers and sisters in Christ it is because you have a weak relationship with Christ. If you need to work on your loving spirit crucify yourself daily by remembering the cesspool Christ lifted you out of by grace; get full of Christ and you will be full of peace and love. It is amazing how we can make Christianity just another religion or some self-help activity and leave out the most important ingredient. Christianity is not about making us better people, it is about knowing and loving God, John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.