Deck Cheatham: There is no end

Deck Cheatham

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus." — (Galatians 3:28, NKJV)

Conformity and I have never been friends unless doing so brought me gain or mediated some discussion I wished to avoid. My rearing years taught me, eventually, not to test my mother, and today, I dress like a golf pro. I have learned the art of image and to say the right words. My outward life reveals no evidence of non-conformity, though igniting within me are Pavlovian non-conforming thoughts living on.

Bristling as I am oft to do over any effort by society to seek my non-thinking agreement and asking me to follow them North, just give me South. Life is slower and quieter there — unencumbered.

Reading the verse above, I experienced a Pavlovian response to the word one. One suggests a collective, a whole, a crowd, a club, a group — conformity. Anyone can be classified in the whole because they possess certain characteristics, but inclusion by intent suggests something else, suggests some willingness to relinquish parts of us belonging to God.

Friendship may be the exception. Friendship is a form of love. It knows not entanglement or demand or jealousy as other loves do. Its existence rises through choice over a discovered and shared epiphany. It desires not perfection. Beyond acquaintance, friendship knows companionship and commonality and fondness but doesn’t need them, for when friendship is true, the bond survives time and distance and misunderstanding. Friendship knows not an end because it does not have one.

One characteristic reaching my observations is how groups claim a truth, and in self-serving style, pervert its meaning. Look around. There are many. A wise man told me truth is absolute, but my eyes tell me groups churn its meaning into its own and applies it to the exclusion of that absolute.

Wisdom teaches this tactic is about power. The group, the crowd, the whole feigns servanthood in their effort when meaning “subservient-hood.” All manipulators intend this despite the group’s size. Even friendship can sometimes slip into pride by intentionally excluding others. But the herd mentality knows only its end. My tendency to resist conformity delayed my full submission in Christ.

Because Christ compelled me to understand God’s perfecting grace, because I yielded to it, verse 3:28 in Galatians made me think deeper about the word one. All my Christian failures taught me I did not accept Christ for my means. Too many unintended outcomes occurred for this to be true.

Once I realized I was one with Christ because he chose me, God’s revealing grace allowed me his truth, his freedom, his way of life. I became one with Christ as true friends are one while he abided time and distance and misunderstanding. My submission to his truth and his love binds us.

Being one in Christ has no end.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for some 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Please visit his blog at deckcheatham.com. Email him at pgadeacon@gmail.com.

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