For decades I have believed that Paul’s apostolic heart cry is summed up in Galatians 4:19.
19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19 (NKJV)
This is what we are called and created for, the revealing of Jesus to us and then through us. It is clear that Jesus desire is to form Himself in us. However, He won’t do our part and we can’t do His part. If we read the rest of Galatians, it is clear that Paul’s rebuke of the Galatian Christians was that if Christ had already been formed in them it would be evident in their lives. The forming of Jesus in us is subsequent to our conversion and is a process, not an instant event.
The forming of Jesus comes about not through focusing on ourselves. The Lord knows that self absorption is one of the primary curses of our current culture. It comes from focusing on Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is through focusing on Jesus and His word that we mature.
A number of years ago I was on a road trip with my supervisor and he shared the concept of Accommodation and Space. It has always stayed with me and is a concept we would do well to embrace in the church. He had learned it from a friend and colleague named Audrey. She was an Elder, Lawyer and Hereditary Chief from the Gitxsan nation in Northwest British Columbia, Canada. The English translation of the Gitxsan is “People of the River of Mist.” The Gitxsan have lived in community in their traditional territory since long before the nation of Canada existed as a political entity. Part of their belief system as a community and Indigenous nation was that Accommodation and Space needed to be held to create a psychological, physical and emotional atmosphere that would allow change to take place. That is, differences were accommodated and space was allowed for reflection and dialogue together.
Let us apply that concept to our relationship with Jesus. He is real, He desires to be personal. He invites us to accommodate Him in every area of our lives and to make space for Him. However, we all have a limited amount of emotional and psychological space in our lives. There is the expression ‘nature abhors a vacuum.’ It is similar to the expression, ‘the meeting fills the time allotted.’ Our lives fill up with tasks and commitments. I have long believed we need to organize our lives around our priorities, not seek to manage our time.
Thus, we need to consider whether we organize our lives around Jesus and His word or if He is an add on. Serving Him can be reflective of a deep relationship with Him or it can reflect our need to appear to be a certain way.
I recently read an account from a prophetic individual with an established international platform. Had you asked him if he was serving and living for Jesus two years ago, he would have replied in the affirmative. He was indeed a deeply passionate follower of Jesus who blessed countless lives. He publicly promoted a word with national significance that didn’t come to pass. Afterward Jesus showed him why he had been wrong and he publicly repented. He later acknowledged he went through a humbling trial because his focus had been wrong. He had been seeking to promote something other than Jesus and it had affected His ability to hear what the Spirit was saying.
Given our psychological and emotional space is limited we need to consider not whether we are sincere but whether our focus is on Jesus. After all, Jesus is formed in us as we accommodate and make space for Him. May He be our first love.
Below is a song from the Helser’s new album that directly addresses this issue. Enjoy.
We Make Space by Melissa Helser
Next week I will look at how we can accommodate and make space for our fellow travelers on our journey to Christ likeness.