Our neglect of union with Christ explains the gaps between our faith and our lives. When the work of Christ for us becomes abstracted from the person of Christ within us, is it any wonder there is a chasm between our heads and our hearts or between our beliefs and our experiences? Is it surprising that we feel frustrated and cynical or tossed to and fro? — Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne
“I don’t want to be just a smarter sinner”, is a common expression that one of our elders uses. I think what he’s saying is an expression of the gap between what we know and what we do. Maybe the bigger gap is between what we know and who we are. Many of us do a respectable job of managing our behavior. Occasionally we get caught in a situation that stretches our self-control and what is inside comes out. This is when the gap between what we believe and what we live shows up.
The other challenge for us is our focus on salvation. Within our tribe there is a great deal of emphasis on the proper steps to take to be saved. There is much good in this as far as it goes, but we aren’t transported to heaven the instant we complete those steps. For some reason Jesus leaves us here.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)
These two verses express to me the reason we’re still here. As Christ’s body we have work to do. There are needs that surround us and we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to address those needs. The second thing is that God intends for us to be transformed. Rather than being conformed to this world we are to be conformed to the image of Jesus who is in us. The point is that our salvation is not the end, but the beginning.
I feel the gap that Wilbourne describes. There are far too many things that I know in my head that just don’t seem to make it to my heart. I get frustrated and act in ways that are inconsistent with my identify as a child of God filled with the Holy Spirit. Based on my actions my greatest desires are all about me. I want my desire to be God and to be more like Him, but I struggle to consistently get that into my daily life.
I’m looking forward to reading more and hoping that I discover some ways to close the gap.