Christianity is about more than simply “getting into heaven”. In recent years the Gospel has become little more than an After-life Insurance Policy.
Add to that the erosion in the belief of a literal Hell and it’s small wonder so many people simply can’t be bothered to believe until the last minute.
Let’s face it, the Christian life is not easy. Look at the list of things under the “not allowed” column.
Hang on, that’s not accurate. It is what often gets taught in some denominational churches, but it’s not what the Gospel is about.
Consider sex for a second.
It’s allowed. There’s a Godly context for it – Marriage – but it’s created to be fun. Pleasurable. Enjoyable. The pinnacle of Earthly intimacy.
Of course outside the boundaries of a Godly context it’s the opposite. It may seem like fun in the moment, but I’ve had so many conversations where the theme has been “I wish I hadn’t”. In the original version of “The Magnificent Seven”, Steve McQueen’s character tells of a man who took off all his clothes and jumped on a cactus because it “seemed like a good idea at the time”.
What about money? Didn’t Jesus say money was the root of all evil?
He said the love of money was a root of evil. If money were inherently evil then any amount would be dangerous. Abraham was Blessed by God to the point that countries asked his family to leave because his family on its own was more bountiful than the entire country they were resting in. Solomon was the richest man ever because he trusted God. After Job was restored, God gave him back more than he’d lost. Money is not evil, but making it your idol is.
Power corrupts. So they say. But if that were true why did Jesus say the disciples would receive Power when the Holy Spirit fell on them? Surely He was therefore corrupting them if power corrupts in every instance?
Selfish ambition corrupts good morals. I look at the Presidents and possible Presidents from around the world. Robert Mugabe started out as a decent man who wanted freedom for his people, but after so long in power he has a need to hold onto that power. Jacob Zuma was a freedom fighter alongside Nelson Mandela, but his rise to power has been about personal gain rather than the betterment of life for the people he “governs”. Donald Trump seeks power to match his alleged wealth, Hillary Clinton seems to have her own selfish agenda behind the scenes as well. They seek power when the Presidency is supposed to be a role of Service. Somehow I can’t see many of the World’s Presidents wrapping a towel around themselves and washing the feet of their companions.
Ah, there’s the root.
The Gospel is about Companionship. Fellowship. God Himself originally designed man to be His companion, and woman to be man’s companion.
He gave mankind dominion over the Earth. The only other being said to have dominion is God Himself. Christ recovered that dominion, and immediately handed it back to us – with Him as co-pilot now, not as a dictator, but as a companion to walk through life with.
We need His companionship, and He desires ours. He desires ours so much He had Himself nailed to a Roman Cross 2000 years ago so we could have Him as a companion in this world.
As He looked out from the Cross, our companionship was the Joy set before Him. It was the motivation behind His actions, His Sacrifice.
What amazes me is the idea that a Perfect God desires our companionship. He could have just wiped out mankind and started again, but His Love for us stopped Him from doing that and drove Him to rather seek us out and give up Himself for our sake.
My wife is my companion. Marriage is a portrait of God’s relationship with us. It’s not always easy. In my 13 years of marriage we have endured some heavy battles, but our companionship with each other has seen us through them.
My friends are my companions in this life as well. I have few people I reserve the accolade of “close friend” to these days. They are people I allow to speak into my life and who allow me to speak into theirs. Currently I can count these companions on one hand.
And companionship has nothing to do with proximity. My Best Friend lives a thousand miles from me, but when we communicate there is a kinship there I have nowhere else except in my marriage, where the bond is strongest.
But my most important companion is Jesus.
And He’s only a whisper away.