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The Captivated Life
Walking as a prisoner’s of war at the end of a Roman victory march is nobody’s goal in life. But that is the exact image Paul uses to describe his ministry to Corinth. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV). As one who has devoted my life’s work to the proclamation of the Gospel, I’d really like to at least be among the officers in the march. But that is the thing that keeps me from reflecting Christ as brightly as I need too.
Imagine yourself as a vessel of some sort; perhaps a pitcher. If the pitcher is full of YOU there is nothing left that it can contain. The less of YOU in the pitcher, the more of Christ it can contain. Less of you; more of Christ. More of you; less of Christ. Paul’s goal appears to be NONE of Paul; Full of Christ! That’s why he’s among the POW’s and not the commanding officers.
What might Christ do among us if we were all more concerned with being full of HIM instead of full of ourselves? What if we were more devoted to the mission of Christ than getting OUR way? What if we were more interested in helping the weak among us than in self-promotion? What if we all insisted on being in the back of the line instead of (gently?) pushing our way near the front? What if self-interest and self-advancement and self-ish-ness were laid on the altar of sacrifice that Christ might be the only one whose glory we advanced?
If Paul’s analogy held true, the less of us that gets the way, the more the cause of Christ advances. As we’ve seen throughout our study of the Story, God desires to do his work through people. As we grow in our understanding of our selves as humble servants (and not Lords) the aroma of the knowledge of Christ spreads to others THROUGH us! People are drawn to Christ when we get out of the way and allow only Christ to be seen in us.