Sunday, March 27, 2011
It doesn't make sense to us to give up. We weren't made that way, we don't live that way, and we sure don't plan to die that way. So determined are we to find a way to win, that we'll do nearly anything to conquer what stands before us. Inspiration comes from dreaming the impossible, executing a plan to overcome it, and defying all odds to demonstrate that we are the victors. Oh, we're certainly full of ourselves, if nothing else.
So, when does it make sense to actually give up?
Using our differences as a starting point, there's quite a gap between ourselves and God. He wants us with Him, and hopefully, we desire to be with Him. So, we try to bridge the gap ...
We attempt to use religion. If I go to church, if I pray, if I read my Bible, if I follow all the rules, if I repeatedly confess and ask forgiveness, if I'm religious, then I will get closer to God.
We attempt to philosophize our way to God. Exploring our own spiritual understanding and that of others seems like a good path to take. There's certainly no harm in it.
We attempt to do good things. Hey, as long as we're doing a lot of good things, or at least more good things than bad things, then it makes sense we would grow in our relationship with God. Let's not argue that doing good things for others is, well, somehow not good.
And, we attempt to at least do the best we can. I mean, come on, none of us are perfect. So, as long as we're doing the best we can, then it'll all get taken care of in the end. We hope.
The fact is, all these attempts fall short. It's not that being religious or philosophizing, or doing good things, or trying the best we can are bad. But, that's not the point. The point is that these attempts fall short of bridging the gap between our broken and sinful selves, and the love and holiness that is God.
He desires us. He is jealous for us. He provided a perfect solution for us. All we have to do is want Him as much as He wants us. Here's where it makes sense to give up.
Give up. Get Him. You win.
Friday, March 18, 2011
I'd like to believe I would do anything to protect my wife and my daughters. The fact of the matter is, I probably would. I love them. Wow, do I ever love them. Given the choice, I truly don't believe I would hesitate for even a split second to give my own life if it meant saving theirs. My mind wanders to fears, and I come to the rescue.
I wonder why I don't always show that in my words and actions?
I'm selfish. I like to do what I want when I want. While I don't run around like some wild man, carelessly and recklessly and purposely causing pain and anguish for my family or others, I do consistently exhibit selfishness. It is written in Isaiah that "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way ... " (53:6a).
We have, haven't we?
It freaks us out to say we're sinners. We get caught up in the ugliness of the word. The feeling that we're not being positive about ourselves makes us spiral into self-loathing or react with a flurry of excuses. Just because we make a few mistakes now and again, doesn't make us bad people, especially since most of the time we really do pretty good things ... or so our justification for our actions typically goes.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
We fall short of His glory. Over and over and over again, we fall short of His glory. Not just our actions expose our sinful nature. It's also our words. It's also our thoughts. Don't be angry or scared ... it's true ... for everyone. Our sin has earned us death and eternal separation from God. Again, don't be angry or scared ... it's true ... for everyone.
God doesn't want that for us. He wants us to live with Him now and forever. He desires that for us. He would do anything to protect us. Anything and everything.
Friday, March 11, 2011
It's not just that God loves us, is the prime example of love, and consistently demonstrates love. It's so much more than that. It is written that "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" (1 John 4:8). Yes, God IS love. He loves us like no person can ever possibly imagine to love us, or us another.
But, God is more than love.
God is holy. He is perfect. He is pure. He is righteous. He is just. God requires absolute perfection from us, which we cannot deliver. God is pure to the point of never being wrong. Never. Ever. Even though we're wrong. A lot. God is righteous and has standards for us to live up to for our benefit. Which, we cannot live up to. And, God is fair - He is not partial - He must punish all of us for our unrighteousness. Bummer.
Or, is it?
Because, after all, remember ...
God IS love.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I used to despise the notion of heaven and hell.
It's much easier to believe that this life is all there is. It's much easier to believe that we should take all we can, get all we can, or even give all we can, right here and right now, because when the lights go out, there's nothing to concern ourselves with anymore. Nice and tidy.
Why would a loving God condemn anyone to hell? The thought of it disgusted me. I'm not sure if it's because I believed I was going to hell, because I believed I deserved to go to hell, or because I believed that anyone was going or deserved to go to hell. Sick and wrong.
Here's what changed everything for me: This isn't all there is, and we get a choice of what's next. Heaven is spending eternity with God. Hell is spending eternity without God. This isn't all there is, and we get a choice of what's next. Amazing and true.
How sure are you that if you died now you would go to heaven?
He is jealous for me
loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
we are His portion and He is our prize
drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
if grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
~ Kim Walker