Have You Been Assimilated?
I am unashamedly a big fan of Star Trek. I love the campy original series with Spock and Captain Kirk, the steady leadership of Pickard and Ryker in Next Generation, and the wanderings of the crew of the spaceship Voyager. Some of my favorite episodes feature dealings with the Borg. For those who are unenlightened in the wonders of Star Trek, the Borg is a predatory, alien species of cybernetic organisms who add to their number by assimilation. Once the Borg gets ahold of a species, they became a part of the hive by being assimilated. Individuality is non-existent. Their conquests are completely and permanently absorbed and physically altered to look and function like a Borg drone. The Borg have one mind and one purpose, and their goal is the total assimilation of the universe.
What do Science Fiction and Christianity Have in Common?
While in no way am I intending to cheapen Christianity by comparing it to a science fiction series, I cannot deny that the assimilation practices of the Borg got me to thinking about the Christian life. As Christians we too become a part of something much more significant than ourselves; we become a part of the Church of Jesus Christ. At salvation, we are completely and permanently transformed from spiritually dead individuals to alive in Christ (Eph. 2:1, 4-6). We are intimately connected to the God of the universe; in fact, we become his children by adoption (Eph. 1:5)!
We are given a new identity. Colossians 3:10 says that in Christ we are being renewed in an image in which there is no distinction between ethnicities, social class, intellectual abilities, or in any other way that we tend to divide ourselves. In Christ, we are all chosen, holy, and beloved (Col. 1:12). We have been enabled to display new behaviors and attitudes, as well as developing a new set of values and desires.
The Struggle is Real
I think we struggle believing we have this new identity and often we struggle believing all the things the Bible says are true about us. We wonder, “have I changed at all” when we find ourselves red-faced with anger at the toddler who refuses to obey or yelling at the teenager who has been disrespectful for the umpteenth time today. It doesn’t even have to be as dramatic as that! Finding I am impatient in the stop and go traffic on the nearby busy highway on a Saturday afternoon is enough to make me wonder how much I have truly changed in my 32 years of following Jesus. These are easy patterns to fall back into when we set aside who we are in Christ as we move through the day. It is sometimes startling to realize that in my union with Christ He has granted to me everything pertaining to life and godliness, He has given me His precious and magnificent promises, and that I am a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3- 4). Perhaps you wrestle with this as well.
Consistent Bible Study
Disbelief is a significant contributor to our struggles. On some level, I think we all have a hard time wrapping believing arms around Paul’s declarations that our old self was crucified with Jesus, that our body of sin was done away with, and that we are no longer slaves to sin. We resist believing we are indeed dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:6, 7, 11). We need the regular, consistent input we get from the Word of God to remind us of what is true. Dear friends, disbelief can only be conquered by immersing ourselves in regular, deep study of the Bible. We need truth as the foundation on which we build our daily lives.
Disciplined Prayer Life
We must also cultivate a prayer life. There is no substitute for prayer in the life of a Christian; it reminds us that we are needy and dependent upon God. It is through prayer that our spiritual growth and transformation into Christ-likeness take place. It is through prayer that our disbelief will be turned into belief and increasing faith will be the result.
I doubt this is new information to most of us, yet Bible reading and prayer are two of the things we struggle with the most. We cannot multitask while spending time in the Word or praying to God. Both of these disciplines demand our total concentration which is why I suspect we spend so little time at either one of them. We must devote ourselves to the reading of Scripture and the discipline of prayer to have any hope of progressing a prescribed. To refuse to meet with God in prayer is disobedience and rebellion (1 Thess. 5:17; Phil. 4:6; Mark 14:38).
Challenge for the New Year
As we begin the new year, let us commit to being Borg-like in our devotion and practice of our faith. Let’s be relentless in our pursuit of Christ-likeness. Purpose to be unyielding in our battles with the flesh, and steadfast in our efforts to add people to the kingdom of God. Let us wholeheartedly embrace this form of assimilation.