Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Lunchbreak Musings II

What the hell is wrong with me?

I don't mean to be profane, and honestly, I'm not.  Hell is definitely involved with what's wrong with me.  In that, I deserve hell because of what's wrong with me.  People tell me that I'm a good person, tell me that I'm a kind person and though I sometimes fool myself into believing it, I know the truth.

I am selfish. 
I am angry.
I am proud.
I am lustful.
I am greedy.
I've stopped going to church, except on special occasions.
I lie when I feel pressured.
I am lazy.
I "quench the Spirit".
I don't lead my family like I should.
I am too meek when I should be assertive.
I am too aggressive when I should be meek.
I depend on my own strength instead of depending on Christ.

I could go on and on, but I really want to focus on the last half of that last sentence.  Dependence on Christ.  My constant prayer, when I do pray (which is laughably seldom) is to be more Christ-like.  I dream of this man, this man who is bold in his faith and yet humble in himself.  This man, who cares more for others rather than himself.  A man who meets temptation with memorized Scripture.  A man who, like Paul, does not care about personal accomplishments and just rejoices that the gospel is preached.  A man who desires glory for God and not for himself.  Who loves and leads his wife as Christ leads, protects, and loves the Church.  A godly influence for other Christians and a passionate evangelist and disciple-maker.

I am aware that I will not be perfected or fully sanctified until I am gone.  I am aware that I often want these things for the wrong reasons.  I asked what was wrong with me at the beginning, but I am aware the answer is sin.  Sin that, though Christ has ensured it no longer binds me, still taints everything  this side of eternity.  But it is still frustrating.  I see myself in Paul's tortured plea at the end of Romans 7:  "Who will set me free from the body of this death?".  I am aware of the answer he immediately gives:  "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!".  But still, it is agonizing.

What does it mean to truly depend on Christ?  That isn't rhetorical, it's a real question.  I can understand why we must depend on Christ--I can appreciate that we are completely separate from God in sin and that there is no way that we can reconcile with Him (Rom 3:23,6:23, Eph 2:8-9).  I can understand that even our faith is not ours to brag about and that there is nothing that we can do to give us some claim over God (1Co 1:20-29).  Even the strongest and wisest among us are nothing in God's eyes.  So, unlike any other religion, Christianity calls on man to wholly depend on God for our salvation.  But how does one do that?

I often look at myself and realize that I'm depending on my own strength.  What does it feel like to depend on Christ to say, resist temptation, though?  I understand the principles behind resisting temptation (Scripture memory, discerning the lie behind the temptation's promise), but my resistance is utterly powerless.  I can call on Christ at my best time, but I truly depend on Christ to even call on His help.  By myself, I will allow myself the temptation.  One can say, I guess, that the inability to fully depend on Christ is another example of why our dependence on His sacrifice to be right with God is so important.

And maybe there is the thing of it.  I expect myself to be able to depend on Christ of my own will, which is of course the opposite.  Oh, how complicated this gets!  And how simple it really is at the same time.  So, I throw this question out there to anyone:  what does it feel like, what does it look like, what do you do when you depend on Christ in your day to day life?  Any thoughts?

Despite that list up there, I know that I have forgiveness in all of those things and grace beyond that to become an heir with Christ because of the small dependence that I do have in Him, which is His credit, not mine, because it surely didn't come from me.  Praise God for His mercy, for His grace, and for His patience with a prideful sinner like me.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Walking on Water

Walking on water and seeing how magnificent Christ truly is through an experience that only He can provide must have exceeded the very comprehension of Peter. In a moment of extreme obedience, Peter listened to the command of Christ to get out of the boat and place his feet on the water. Not to jump in because the water was great for a swim. Not to hang his feet over the edge of the boat as to dip his toes into the sea. Christ called this disciple to do the impossible and walk on water alongside the Creator of the Universe. Peter willingly accepted the command and followed it out onto the waves and amidst the wind. Maybe it was a minute or an hour, but Peter fell prey to the distraction of his surroundings and snapped out of the supernatural experience of walking on water with Christ to realizing he was a man walking on water. His fear and striving to control the situation caused him to sink.

I can relate to this story because I have walked on spiritual waters, though I don’t believe I would have had the faith to actually step out of the boat. What an incredible act of faith it was for Peter to step out of His comfort zone and do what he knew was humanly impossible. In a season of doubt and drought, I recently found myself taking strides to return to Christ. Metaphorically, I had recently stepped out of the boat where I sat protected by my own means, comfortable in my so-called safety from the world around me. While sitting in my man made boat amidst the God made universe, I found myself learning to trust Him more and respond to life in a way that would bring honor to Him rather than me. I found a peace to walk out among the storms of life, knowing that I could stand tall alongside Christ in it no matter what was surrounding me. But, much like Peter, the waves that I was just standing strong among distracted me from the focus on the foundation where I stood. It was not on Peter’s own strength that he walked on the water, nor had it been my own that allowed me to stand firm in life’s storm. It was the shift of focus onto God and away from me that allowed me to find strength and peace where I once found none. It was in Christ that I was able to stand firm. But sadly, as with Peter, in my humanity I failed. My attention was diverted from God and I began to sink. My arms were flailing and my head bobbing to find breathe in the middle of my selfish struggle for stability.

When I saw the waves I first responded by looking for a way to solve the problem. I looked to myself to find an answer and to gain control of a seemingly out of control situation. The only answer that I could find was how to sink faster. Only after taking uncountable gulps of the sea around me did I turn back to God to pull me out of my own despair. I say this all in hopes that you would find your strength in Christ. That when you think you have the answer, you would remember to go to Christ for the right one. Even when we begin to follow God’s commands, it is easy to become distracted and try to finish the act of obedience on our own power, especially those of us who tend to be control freaks. This weekend in particular we are remembering what Christ did on the cross for us by sacrificing Himself and conquering the grave as He rose from the dead so that we may have this relationship with Him. Because of what He willingly did for us, we have the ability, through Him and for Him, to walk on water.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lunchbreak Musings Part I

This is something I wrote a loooong time ago during a lunch break at work, I just found it and thought to go ahead and post it up.  It'll be the first in a collection of "Lunchbreak Musings"--things I jotted down while I was on a break, or in and off moment at work:

"It seems funny driving around-realizing how little the things we consider important actually matter.  The guy tailgating me, the woman in front of me driving slowly with no headlights (I'd take someone speeding that I can see over someone slow that I can't any day!) are nothing in the context of eternal heaven and hell.  Take yourself out of the moment-people all around you, with their whole lives stretched out.  Some are going to hell--most, even--and some will God use in that way that He uses people--some grand, some small, all important.  Is tailgating a big deal?  People die and are born, lost are forever lost, saints are made and lives are changed and I am too wrapped up in my petty daily problems to see the larger picture.  Praise God that His patience is eternal for no human would have tolerated me this long.  I'm supposed to be not of this world and free of sin, yet I still feel like my old chains from when I was Satan's slave are holding me.  Slavery to sin is an inability to choose unselfishness, but we are now slaves to righteousness (Rom 6:18).  If we claim to know Him--we should keep His commandments (1Jn 2:3-4).  We should keep in mind the things of God--I am His servant (truthfully, His slave), bound to do all for His glory (1Co 10:31, 6:20).  Enough of failure--we are empowered to be victorious, and I will be.  Christians--we can shake the world for Christ once we wake up and keep our eyes on the throne--we are servants of God--slaves to His will.  There is a great peace and joy and honor in that position--let's be loyal ambassador's and show a new life to a world that thinks 'hypocrisy' when they hear 'Christian'."