Every time I see those posters that say “work hard and be nice to people” or see a pillow that says “be kind to one another” or hear someone say, “we just need to love more,” especially after a tragic event, I cringe a little inside.
That seems like the wrong reaction, especially from a Christian. I mean, kindness is listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit, right? And the Golden Rule is “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12), and Jesus said that. So what’s my problem?
My problem is that it sounds like it is being suggested that positive change in the world is going to come from a change in natural man’s behavior. That sounds like it comes straight out of the world system. And, above all, it takes Christ out of the picture.
But let’s play this idea out for a minute.
Let’s imagine a world where both Christians and non-Christians wake up one day tired of the mess that is this fallen world and decide to try and fix it together by being nice to one another.
We know that for the non-Christians, these attitudes and behaviors would come from the source of their own nature. Christ cannot, by default, be on display in people that He does not inhabit.
Now let’s say that the Christians in this new kind world are so impressed with the results of this new way of living that they choose to live by their own natures as well (instead of by the life of Christ), with kindness and love being the focal behavior.
But if that were how this world was, and it was done out of the effort of humans, it would be for nothing. If this utopian world was created by the life of men, it would be worthless and have no eternal value. And it would mean nothing to the Almighty God.
God is interested in His Son being manifested on the earth, becoming all and in all, and if every person was displaying kindness but not His Son, it would be for nought.
Would you rather have a people united toward fixing this world who show kindness and compassion towards one another but where Christ is not the source of their efforts and therefore Jesus cannot be on display and nothing has an ounce of eternal value?
Or would you rather have a broken world where Christ’s life and light is truly on display but only by a small percentage of people who are not trying to fix the world but instead are focused on living by a higher life and bringing a glimpse of a future, new world to earth now?
I don’t want any believers falling for the deception and lie that if they act a certain way or behave like Jesus did in the scriptures that that is good enough for our Lord, that that is what He is after. Acting a certain way is not what the Lord is after. You know what that is, though? That’s the Law all over again.
The truth is that anything that does not come from Christ (who is life), has to be death. Only those things that come from the life of Christ will be everlasting, impacting both the seen and unseen realms. It has to more than look like Christ. It has to be more than for Christ. It actually has to come from the life of Him within His people. It has to be by and through Christ.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think living from Christ’s life does mean something in terms of how we will act and behave if we follow His Spirit within us. In living from Christ’s life, we will show kindness and love and gentleness and patience towards others. And it may not look any different than those not functioning from the Spirit that are acting that way. But it will be from a higher life. It will be an actual manifestation of Christ on earth in the now. It will be a glimpse of the Kingdom of God.
So here’s my point: The answer is not just to be kind to one another. That’s the world system’s best “nice” solution to problems. The only answer is Christ and living by His life. And He didn’t come to fix this world anyway, He came to usher in a new one. When we focus on the spiritual realities and allow Christ is work through us, we are making our future hope visible today, we are displaying God’s glory, and that glory will be visible to world.
“…while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18