Is This The Real Life?
The Queen song, “Bohemian Rhapsody” begins with the lyrics:
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.
In light of some reading I am doing in a book called, “They Smell Like Sheep” by Dr. Lynn Anderson, and in light of some excerpts I have tweeted & shared on Facebook from that text, I had a private message from a brother in Christ that read:
I want to “like” your Elder comment, but real life seems to be different that what we are supposed to be.
So, what is real life for those of us in Christ? I believe Paul states the answer quite clearly on several occasions, but I am memorizing Colossians chapter 3 this year, so it is from that passage that I will attempt to clarify this conundrum.
Verse 1 says that since we have been raised in a new life with Christ, we should set our sights on the reality of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Here is the reality, folks: this earth is not the be-all, end-all destination for anyone who has ever lived, is living, or will live on this planet. Those who are in Christ will spend eternity with Him on the New Earth. All others will spend eternity separated from God and Christ (that is defined as “hell” in the Scriptures).
Verse five reminds us that the reality as new creations in Christ is that we are to put to death the sinful, earthly things that lurk within us. Things like: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. Easier said than done, you say? I agree, but it is doable when we set our minds on the reality of heaven! When we strip off our old sinful nature (v9), and put on our new natured, renewed as we learn to know and become like our Creator (v 10).
Paul reminds those of us who now strive to follow Christ in our everyday “real lives” that we are to clothe ourselves with, “tenderhearted kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (v 12)
Bottom line living for those of us who follow Christ, I believe is summed up in verse 17: “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to him through God the Father.”
The reality is that followers of Christ are expected to uphold a higher standard than those who are still of this world. Yes, living as a Christ-follower IS hard. And yes, as Dr. Anderson would say, Elders have an even higher standard by which to live, or as the excerpt to which I previously alluded says: Elders are called to raise the bar…They set the example & lift the standard of what it means to be a Christian. #TheySmellLikeSheep
The fantasy is when we claim to follow Christ, but live like those of this world. It is not a fantasy in which I wish to exist. I m afraid far too many people who claim to follow Jesus are living in that fantasy world and they have a rude awakening coming their way.
Following Christ is not for wimps. Christian living is not for the weak-willed. Being a servant leader in Christ’s Church is not for the squeamish. May we rely on God to give us the strength to live with our eyes set on the realities of heaven, knowing that we have been saved from our previously sinful lifestyle to serve as representatives of Christ Jesus. May we do so in a way that brings Christ glory, honor, and praise always. May we have the grace to forgive those who fall short of that standard (including ourselves), and may we desire to grow closer to Christ today than we were yesterday, taking everyone we know along for the ride.