But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. – Philippians 3:20 – 21
In Christ I have salvation. In Christ I am being restored. In Christ my old nature – the false self – is put to death. The lies I believed are replaced with Truth.
So why am I not ALL FIXED?
Why do I still struggle with sin?
At different points, the New Testament writes refer to those in Christ as saved and as being saved.
Saved is a related to God’s faithfulness. That once we are in Christ, God views it as a done deal. Our citizenship has transferred to heaven. We are declared righteous because we get our sense of self in Christ. (see Being Open to Acceptance)
The idea of being saved, or working out our salvation, has to do with the idea that while we are citizens of heaven, we still occupy these lowly bodies.
We still dwell in a broken world that presses us on all sides with its standards. We still have an enemy that rules this broken world. And we have memories and echoes of the flesh we inhabit.
Because we are imperfect, we are sometimes fooled by familiarity, habit or comfort into turning our attention away from our Source. Thus we sin. We grasp for wholeness elsewhere because our identity feels the disconnect.
Having the ability to be aware of our temptations and lies and answer them in Christ is all part of the sanctification process. As God continues to chip away the old, more strongholds may pop up, but that is part of being conformed in the image of Christ.
The trouble is, much of Western Christianity functions with an ALL FIXED mentality. The effectiveness of the gospel must be measured. Compared to something. So we look to visible outward changes.
The testimonies we are drawn to are the ones of the alcoholic who does not crave a drink any longer. Or a criminal who found Jesus in prison and now tours telling churches how different things instantly were. Or the woman who confessed to promiscuity and an abortion who now has the smiling happy family. We want Jesus to fix things – us – and now.
(An aside – I do believe in instant miraculous healing. God is powerful. I just know it does not happen like that for a lot of people. And even the alcoholic who does not crave a drink will probably have other things to confront.)
Because our pastors and priests are supposed to be examples to us, we look to them and expect them to be all fixed. We are disappointed with them, fire them, and change churches when we do happen to learn of their real struggles – not just the ones they have packaged into sermon illustrations.
Churches are relational systems. Like any interconnected family. (see The Lie)
So if the pastor responds to expectations by acting all fixed, that attitude and expectation will resonate throughout the system.
Vulnerability will be cut off. (see Diminishing Vulnerability) People will put on their masks. Those who sin will be held at arm’s length.
Which leads to members of a relational system that know, intuitively, that they have to cover their own shame. (see The Solution for Shame)
Shame will be a common experience as members of the community live in that tension that they are not all fixed (and so fail), but live in the expectation that they are.
A lot of what passes for dependence on Christ among pastors and congregations is simply reliance on the self. It is the religious false self. (see Religious Self-Justification)
Living like a follower within the walls of church, pursuing the world’s standards outside.
Breaking the all fixed system requires every member living in surrender and submission. Confessing their weakness. Practicing a life of openness to God as the Source of strength and truth. Practicing gratitude for the journey.
It is not the way that it is easy to self-promote. But it is the type of life that will resonate with those outside the church. Allowing us to be light to the lost.
A place of safety rather than condemnation.
Do you struggle with an expectation (yours or others’) of being “all fixed” in Christ?