Religion vs. Relationship.
by Melissa Driggers
September 01st, 2016
“What would Jesus do?”
“Put on the mind of Christ.”
Common phrases if you’re a Christian. The types of phrases that we can become numb to because we hear them so often. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately, and what it means to be transformed to the mind of Christ.
In the thirty-something years that I’ve been a Christian, my perspective on what these phrases mean has been consistent. Do what Christ did. Simple, right? Paul is pretty clear about this, or at least I thought so. I have always thought about the mind of Christ being my response to what is happening around me. That my mind should be Christlike in my response – whether my response is by “doing” or by “saying” something. Respond with kindness, compassion, love, and peace. The action has been the key for me…the doing. I have always read Paul’s instructions to us from that mindset. After all, it makes sense, right? Jesus responded in these ways, so shouldn’t I?
I was talking with someone recently about this, and this person asked me what I thought was an odd and irrelevant question at the time. But this person is quite skilled at digging underneath the surface of what is presented, so I indulged this person’s little “question and answer” exercise.
After I answered this question, I went on about my days but carried a little bit of frustration. Why is my last recall of a tangible, physical experience of transformation so long ago? I started to become very frustrated that I wasn’t able to point to other definitive moments since then. Have I not opened myself up to what is possible when I surrender to Him, so fully that my body is aware of it as the old melts away? How does this fit in to what it means to have the mind of Christ? Why has it been so long since I have heard/felt a true word from God to me? These have been burning questions for me. God, what is the barrier in me, in my heart, that keeps me from experiencing the fullness of your work and blessings in my life?
I got my answer. Just a few nights ago, in my old flannel PJ’s, standing over my bathroom sink, washing my face before bed. I wasn’t in some high and holy place, I wasn’t at church, I wasn’t in my prayer closet. I was doing my thing, a routine I follow every night. I lifted my face and in the mirror, and what I saw was my answer. My eyes were weary, red, and swollen from a day of grieving a recent and significant loss. And in the red streaks of my own eyes I saw my own heart. In that moment, God spoke to me that the true meaning of “putting on the mind of Christ” is not about what Christ did but why He did it.
I can’t give love that I cannot receive. I can’t freely give grace that I don’t freely receive. I can’t give what I have shut out. I can’t trust from a place of distrust. And I have left a wake of destruction by trying to do just that.
I went straight to my Bible and started reading Paul’s writings again. They are leaping off the page with new life. Everything looks different. Everything is different. I guess this is where the “constant renewing of the mind” can finally start, huh?
So, I have a new answer for the question asked of me. I can’t wait to report back to the one who asked it. December 13, 2009, at 10:05 p.m. In my old flannel PJ's at my bathroom sink. The night religion became a relationship.
Melissa is an itinerant speaker/teacher, blogger and author residing in the South. She is single (although she prefers the term “unclaimed treasure”) and lives with her two children, Henry and Hannah, who are “technically” canine (ssshhhh… they don’t know they aren’t human). Her vision and passion for ministry is to shepherd others to the grace, hope, healing, and restoration found only in Jesus Christ! Through her own life journey, God has transformed her heart, and she has experienced the true meaning of “beauty from ashes”.
More of Melissa Driggers: www.infieldsofgrace.com