“For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” (John 6:38)
By Jesus not being a coat, I mean that references to Him, regardless of the form those references take, are not for the putting on or taking off for convenient reasons. There’s an awful lot of that going on.
Groups and individuals often do it for political, social and cultural reasons when they believe doing so helps to advance a particular agenda or underscore something important to them. I’ve sometimes felt like another is bringing Him (or perhaps something about their church or their pastor or their worship style preference, etc.) into their conversation in order to sound “spiritual.” And then later, once they’ve done that, they take Him off like they would a coat. From that point on, much of what they do and say is not reminiscent of Him. I’ve had more than one salesperson try to turn conversation with me to spiritual issues once they found out what I did.
Quasi-Christianity should not, at all, define Christ’s Church, meaning the assembly of those who claim to belong to Him by grace, through faith. Coats are things we put on and take off depending on our external environment. Intimate relationship with Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with our external environment. I believe John 6:38 points us in the right direction. If we are abiding in Him as He has instructed us, then our calling is to do, not our own will, but His will, just as He did the will of the Father who sent Him.
The temptation will always be to do our own will, to listen to our own counsel, to follow our own lead, to be wise in our own eyes. These are strong and difficult temptations to resist because they often reflect our conclusions about what is good and right. But if He is ours and we are His and we believe that He has given us spiritual empowerment in addition to spiritual instruction (i.e. the Holy Spirit), we have to give preeminence to His voice, not our own. The ability to overcome those temptations is within us, the ability to think, say and act sincerely “Not my will but Thy will be done.”
One of the lines of what is commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer” is “…Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Whose job do you think it is to do GOD’s will on earth? If we claim we follow Him, then it is ours. We can’t do that if we wear Jesus like a coat.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.