The Phantom Christian

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Romans 7:21-23

Bob George introduces a concept in his book, “Classic Christianity”, that intrigued me, and I immediately recognized what he describes as the Phantom Christian syndrome. It is that image we all have in our head of the person we think God expects us to be. What we expect ourselves to be. You know the one…..the one that never fails to get up early for morning devotions, is at church every time the doors open, volunteers their time sacrificially every weekend, leads Bible studies, never blows up, excels at work and has everyone in rapt attention by their wonderfully interesting devotions around the table at dinner.

The way he describes it is really quite ridiculous, and he means it to be. Do we really think God will love us more if we do all these things? Sometimes I confess I do. I even do it with blogging. Sometimes I think you will love me more if I can just manage to capture those perfect and illustrious posts that I see in my head. The ones that always come out clear and evoke beautiful thoughts and emotions. But the truth is, that is not what God wants any of us to do. He just wants me to be the very best me I can be, expressing in my own words the things He wants me to say. Just like you.

Sometimes it helps to know that others are struggling just like we are, especially those we don’t expect, like the Apostle Paul. When I was at my Mom’s Bible study last week, a lady I greatly admire for her faith and boldness in talking to people about the Lord said that she is a bit upset at the way God not only allowed but actually orchestrated the tragic events in Job’s life. I was surprised, and I admit also a bit comforted by her confession.

It all comes full circle back to Christ. He is the only one who can give us the power and the victory to be the person He wants us to be. The one we are becoming. He sees us as we will be…….And He loves us right now where we stand. He sees the million small decisions we make to be better, to not blow up, to pray more, turn our eyes to Him when we see a beautiful full moon, and thank Him.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56, 57

photo by Jon Luty

5 thoughts on “The Phantom Christian

  1. It does help to see the struggles of others in the Bible and how God brought them through. That has encouraged me so much over the years. Job is a difficult case.

    There's a lot that we won't understand until we are in heaven. Sometimes our God is mysterious.

  2. Hi Cassandra! Yes He certainly is mysterious, but then, He has that right. I think with eternity in view we can say that God did it for His glory and also for Job's blessing and ultimate reward in eternity, but WOW all your kids at once! I can't begin to imagine his suffering. Great to hear from you. Lori

  3. So glad I read this. Just what I needed after a tough conversation with my son. This is a major struggle for him. I'm going to share this with him… the verses are perfect, just waht he needs. God is so good. Leading me where I needed to be to find a message my son needed to hear. And me too. Thanks Lori!
    God bless, Mary Ann 🙂

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