I don’t believe that I have ever sat down and watched an entire show of The Jeffersons. I am, however, familiar with their theme song – Movin’ on Up. The premise behind the song is that the Jefferson family has arrived. They have made it.
I can’t tell you how often I have had the same type of reaction in regards to who I am in Christ. There are times that I have believed I had arrived because of the way I responded to a particular person or place. There have certainly been times when I have acted in a self-congratulatory way because my behavior is perceived – by me at the very least – as being something of self-sacrifice and self-denial.
In these moments it is not to hard to discover that our eyes have come off Christ, and His work on our behalf. Instead our focus has become ourselves; more specifically, our behavior in a particular moment or place.
I was reminded of this as I read through 1 Peter today. I have taught through this book over the last few months and found myself reading it again today in my personal Bible study. As I read through the book I was reminded so clearly of something that I wrote several years ago in my Bible after reading through 1 and 2 Peter: “Peter writes as if he personally and intimately KNOWS Jesus.”
As I read through again today it was beautiful to see how Peter would point to our relationship to Christ and behavior that should flow from that relationship while always keeping Christ before the behavior. My tendency is to focus on behavior in hopes of reaching or achieving a “good” relationship with Christ. This behavior leaves us frustrated, angry, and at best a target for the enemy. Peter writes in Chapter 1 that we are to behave as obedient children, not conforming ourselves to our former lusts. Yet, before he tells us not to conform ourselves to our former lusts he reminds us where our hope lies: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
It was with this in mind, that I read this tweet by Pastor Jim Cymbala a short time later:
@jimcymbala: Behavior is changed not when you try to change your actions. It’s changing in whom you trust that changes your life.