As a follower of Christ I’m called to make Him the priority of my life and yet there are so many other things that I fight with as they seek my attention and devotion. Today I was reading 2 Corinthians 5 and this verse popped out at me: 2 Corinthians 5:16 “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” In the context of what Paul was writing I was reminded of what my focus and my message need to be.
Paul makes this comment as he looks back upon how he saw Christ before his personal encounter with Christ. He’s telling us he only saw Christ from a worldly point of view at one point in his life as he refers to his pre-Damascus Road experience when he was set heart, mind and soul on destroying the fledgling community of Christ followers. (Acts 9:1, 22:3, 26:9-11)
Now as he was writing to the Corinthians he realizes that his view of Christ was worldly and not from God. All he saw in Jesus was a man who was stirring up disobedience to the established Law and its authorities leading people to rebel against what Israel had always understood as the truth. This kind of thinking needed to be stamped out and that was what Saul of Tarsus was all about. In Luke’s first recital of Saul’s conversion his statement is that this was the very breathe of life for Saul, “threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1).
This is how the world sees Christ, they don’t see his divine nature they only see his humanity. Today in post-Christian societies Christ is not seen as truly divine, the very existence of a single divinity is questionable for some and rejected by others, at best he is accepted as a good teacher among many good teachers. Saul however had to experience first hand the glory of Christ on the Damascus Road before he accepted that Christ was God. It was at that point that Saul went from a deep hatred for Jesus the man to Paul with a complete admiration and Godly fear for him as the Christ. Paul no longer saw Christ from a worldly point of view.
Likewise Paul knew that before Damascus he only saw people from a worldly point of view which meant that they were to be controlled and punished for their disobedience to the established standard —the Mosaic Law in this case. But now because of Christ, the love of Christ, he saw people differently. “One died for all and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer liver for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (v. 15) Paul knew that people where to no longer live for the Law, the nation, their own pleasure or what ever might seize our focus, for these things are what the worldly man, the flesh, is drawn to. Contrary to the attractions of the flesh because “one died for all and therefore all died” we live for Christ alone.
Christ is our focus and Christ is our message.
So what am I drawn to in my life and what is keeping me from making Christ the ultimate priority? As his disciple (the title Christian referred to being “little Christs” or copiers of Christ in New Testament times) I must make my life conform to his teaching. And as 2 Corinthians 5:14 tells us the love of Christ compels us to go as his ambassadors to those who remain unreconciled with God (2 Co 5:20). Suddenly all the other things that pull for my attention, my profession, favorite team, hobby, friendships and all else lose their priority status. Christ is my focus and Christ is my message.