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I’m sure you’ve seen them too.
There’s the t-shirt that says, “Soccer is my life” (or chess, volleyball, music . . . you fill in the blank).
Then there’s the picture of the cat that says, “Sleeping is my life. The amount of sleep I require is one more hour.”
I just looked on Facebook, and found flair stating that acting, art, ballet, basketball, gymnastics, music, softball, Twilight, volleyball and writing were all life.
Even though I know it’s an idiom, I kind of wince inwardly when I see things like that. I know that these people just mean, “I am obsessed with _______.” Or, “I spend a LOT of time doing ______.” But still, these things aren’t life. And really, is that how they want to be identified? “Hello. Softball is my life. Don’t ask about my family or my favorite food or my best friend or my dog. My name is irrelevant. Just call me #15. That’s my softball number.”
I think I’ve taken my point far enough. I’m thinking about this because of a Bible passage I read this morning.
Colossians 3:1-4 says,
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (ESV)
Before I go any further, let me say that I do not think that the phrase “When Christ, who is your life . . .” is the same thing as “softball is my life.” I don’t think that because 1) Paul was writing in Greek, and the “is my life” phrase is an English idiom and 2) this is in the context of being resurrected. So I think that Paul is actually referring to the fact that Christ provided spiritual and eternal life for us through His death on the cross. It’s also fair to note that Christ created all things, so He is our life[-giver] in the sense that He gave us literal, physical life.
Hopefully I’ve sufficiently established that I am not reading my idioms into a translation. Having said that, seeing the phrase reminded me of the idiom, and got me thinking about the way things should be.
When people say that something is their life, there are usually several associated ideas.
1) They devote a lot of time, money, effort, and attention to that thing, person, skill or activity.
Well, shouldn’t this be true of Christians? Shouldn’t we devote as much time, money, effort, and attention as we can to serving, loving, and following Christ?
2) This thing is a large part of their identity.
Well, isn’t my identity as a Christian, as a forgiven child of God, and as an ambassador for Christ much more important than my sex, race, or hobbies?
3) They make choices to give up other things so that they can devote themselves to this thing.
Sports players can’t watch tv in the afternoons because they have practice. Musicians have rehearsals. They sacrifice for the things they love. Shouldn’t Christians love Christ and choose to give for Him much more than we would give for a sport, music, or some other hobby?
That, in my opinion, is how things should be. If I’m going to say that anything is my life, it should be Christ. But the truth is that I get distracted (obsessed?) with lots of other things. And before I know it, I’m not spending much time or effort on being a Christian. I’m not sacrificing to be a Christian. I’m identifying myself as many things, but rarely as a Christian.
What can I do about this problem? And what can you do, if you have it? I think this post is too long already, so for now I’ll just say that I think the passage tells us what to do, and I’ll try to write about that soon.
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