Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Opening all the Locks

We have all watched TV and seen the photos of starving children or children with no homes, eating garbage, no food, or little food. This is NOT one of those stories. This is about a relentless story of love. A few months ago I started two books. One is Crazy Love by Francis Chan and the other The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns . They have challenged me to look at my faith to see if I am really believing in the God that is in my bible. Am I just a Sunday Christian? Do I go to church, pay a tithe, do good works and leave it at that? Did I "get my card stamped" to say I am saved and now there is nothing else to do except the basics I mentioned? Do I live one way with people and another in my heart and mind? Richard Stearns writes "It's basically the belief that being a Christian, or follower of Jesus Christ, requires more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God . It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world." Are we ashamed to let the world know who we actually base our lives and our decisions on?
"For whoever is not ashamed of Me and My words,
of him will the Son of Man be ashamed
when He comes in His glory,
and in the glory of the Father and of the Holy angels."
Luke 9:26 (NASB)
"But I'm paying my tithe and I'm doing all these things for other people." This is what we are saying right? But are we also resenting when it isn't returned back to us or angry when others don't react how we want them to? If we are, then we didn't do it for Christ. We did it to please someone else or have them approve of how we live our lives. Now I have always been a pleaser. I won't deny it. I want the approval of others. More than that, I don't want others to be disappointed in me. But as I read these two books. They began to make me think. I am willing to do almost anything to please someone or have them not be disappointed in me, but I am not willing to surrender fully or wholly and completely live for a God who has ALL POWER, who knows the future and what is best for me, and loves me so much that He gave His only son to be killed and basically spit upon, laughed at, and his body ripped to shreds. Does this honestly make sense? We are so afraid of God asking us to step out of our comfort zone that we just don't take the risk to go beyond the basics. I was speaking with a friend of mine who I tend to go to when I need the truth whether it hurts or not. We were talking about a lot of these things. I began telling her how God has been working in my heart recently and how I don't understand why it has to be so hard to completely surrender for me. It's like I am standing on one side of a door where all the locks to the door are. God is on the other side. As I have worked through some things in my life I unlock each lock but there is still a sliding lock on the door. I can open the door and see all the Glory of God there and all His love waiting for me. I continue to not slide the lock and open the door fully. I don't really know why though. I won't take that risk and in my heart I really want to.
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
This is the first and greatest commandment"
(Matthew 22:37-38)
Francis Chan writes "...People don't really want to be saved from their sin; they only want to be saved from the penalty of their sin." If we live our lives solely to please and for some perceived reward, what meaning do we truly have to our lives? But if we stop living our lives as if the reward will only come at the end of it in the afterlife and live as if we believe Heaven begins now then we will get real about our faith and begin to live it the true way God wanted us to risking to love those around us as if they really are our neighbors.
"Love your neighbor as yourself"
(Galatians 5:14)
God doesn't call us to sit within our comfort zones. He calls us to live a life of sacrifice. The more we become uncomfortable, the more we can become comfortable with who we were made to be in God. One of my hardest things in life has been the words trust and vulnerability. I have had to learn that being vulnerable does not mean being weak. If I am willing to take that chain lock off the door and completely surrender, I may be uncomfortable and vulnerable but I will also be able to let God fill my rooms completely with who He is and who He wants me to be.

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