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Compartmentalizing Jesus

Today’s headlines enumerate all the factions within our nation that can leave us with heavy hearts and a myriad of opinions regarding solutions.  We find that even well-intended people are disagreeing sharply.  About 2000 years ago when a heated division over leadership in the early Corinthian church arose, the Apostle Paul addressed it with a rhetorical question, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:13)  The truth is that there is absolutely “no variation or shadow of turning” in Jesus (James 1:17).  So, where do all the adamant, divergent opinions expressed by Christ-followers come from?

History recounts a king in Judah who was exceptional in his time for trusting in God when no one else did, King Jehoshaphat.  At one point, he allied himself with the reprehensible king of Israel, thinking he was being supportive and helpful; after all, they were related by marriage.  That kindness sounds like Jesus, right?  But the Lord sent a prophet to Jehoshaphat to say, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” (2 Chronicles 19:2)  God not only had an opinion, He spoke truth because He is Truth.  If Jehoshaphat, who was doing everything he could to turn the people away from idols and back to God made that mistake, what makes us think we can do any better?

Sadly, most of us don’t see the division among believers as alarming, much less do we take a deeper personal look at the motivations behind our opinions.  Could we be compartmentalizing Jesus into a “religion” category where He’s active concerning “church”, but doesn’t inform our positions on political and social matters?  Here is a sobering thought:  anything other than Christ that occupies our thoughts and drives behavior is an idol.  Can we honestly say our opinions and responses are informed by the absolute Truth of Jesus, or is our alliance with a political party, and our beliefs determined by our experiences?  Do we hang on what the “experts” have to say, and trust in man’s intellect and science for a vaccine to end the pandemic?  If Jesus is truly Lord of our lives, why have we relegated him to the position of by-stander?

When Jehoshaphat was chastised by God for his error, it actually strengthened his resolve to turn the people back to God, and he appointed judges.  “He told them, ‘Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery’.” (2 Chronicles 19:6-7)  Jehoshaphat knew no man had the wisdom apart from God to determine the correct course.

We would do well to adhere to Jehoshaphat’s words today.  King Solomon instructed, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  (Proverbs 9:10)  By reverencing God in His Holiness and Majesty, acknowledging His Supremacy throughout ALL His Creation, and accepting His unconditional love in Jesus’ atonement for us, we see that the list of our contemporary idols is long, and includes pride and self-righteousness.

Lord, PLEASE forgive us, and help us to see YOU as the very active Source of direction and answers.  Jesus, please deliver us from pride, our need to be in control, along with our need to be right.  Instead, in Your Wisdom, show us what You would have us do.  Amen!