Friday, June 19, 2015

blasphemy



Over and over I try to write this blog post, but nothing comes out right and I can't seem to say what I mean. If it doesn't make any sense, it's because all I can hear is the sound of my own heartbeat pounding against my eardrums and I feel like I'm stuck inside my own head again, exhausted with struggling and lack of sleep. I'm tired of the sound of my own voice but still I'm talking, complaining, crying out every day, all the time.

There's one word I say more than any other, and it's Sorry.

Sing a song, but don't believe... Blasphemy is more than open rejection, more than blatant defamation. Blasphemy is when I tell God, in the silence of my thoughts and actions, that I do not believe He is who He says He is. Blasphemy is when I, a wayward Israelite, tell God that I would rather go back into slavery than trust Him to bring me safely into the Promised Land. Blasphemy is when I lie awake at night with my stomach churning and mind reeling, angry that I don't get to call the shots in my own life.

And I just keep saying Sorry, praying that He takes me back every time, because I want to be alive when I see His face.



Reflections on Numbers 13 & 14.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

on "love one another" (an excerpt)


Jesus’ clear intention with His commandment to love one another in John 15 was to ensure that the bonds of love within the Church would be strong enough to uphold her when the outside world rejected her, taunted her, and persecuted her again and again. Yet somehow, we have allowed a comfortable little falsehood to infiltrate our theology: the notion that this command to love one another really means we are “not being Christlike” if our actions or our words don't fall in line with what the rest of the world wants to see or hear. All too frequently, I see believers sacrifice all other allegiances at the altar of this one completely unbiblical idea. “Come as you are” and “We don’t want to turn anyone away” have become the hailed slogans of churches that are actually just disobedient, and believers that are actually just too afraid (or perhaps a better phrasing would be too faithless) to take the unpopular view. These would do well to remember that we were never called to appeal to the world, but to overcome it; that we were not asked to be “culturally relevant,” but to be holy. The truth of the Gospel is that Jesus gave the world the greatest act of love it has ever seen . . . and the world was offended by it. How can we truly call ourselves followers of this Master while we stand firmly on only those bits and pieces of Scripture that, conveniently removed from their actual context, allow us to guiltlessly feed our self-aggrandizing postmodern idealism and receive worldly applause for doing so?
- an excerpt from my current writing project


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

on pride

So awhile ago, I posted about my struggle with caring so much about what people think. I called it Hypersensitivity then… but today I’m going to call it by its real name: Pride.
Pride is really the most basic sin in all of human history—it was this sin that brought down the Angel of Light and this sin that put a flaming sword at the gate of Eden. It barricades hearts against their dire need for a Savior, it cracks and erodes the foundation of unity in the Church, and it sets up Self as an idol in the place of God.

What is the remedy?

Is there any three-step process in Scripture to eradicate this poison?

I wish there were. I wish that I could find a “Five Days to Perfect Humility” regimen somewhere in the Bible, like the “Eight Steps to a Secure Faith” in 2 Peter 1. I wish there was something I could do, some system I could implement—some self-powered solution. But ah, there it is, the essence of pride again! To depend on Self to to reverse self-dependence is utterly ridiculous. So why is that the first place I turn when I feel convicted of this sin?

The fact is that there is only one answer to the question of pride, and His name is Jesus. There is only one reversal of Adam and Eve’s epidemic, and it is called Grace.

Grace, by its very nature, demands humility. Grace knows that without its intervention, I am utterly helpless—and that to gain the rescue I need, I have to acknowledge that fact. The only way I can be set free from the clutches of Pride is by ending my self-powered struggle and trusting that a far stronger Man will step in and take up the battle that I could not win myself.

Lucifer was never offered grace, and nor has he ever asked for it. That is why we know his battle is already lost; no matter how hard he fights our God now, he is in fact in eternal bondage to something that only God has the power to defeat. Lucifer will go to the Lake of Fire still clinging to the one thing that was his ultimate enemy, though it appeared to be his best friend. Pride.

Praise God that this is not the story He wants for us! Praise God that we, the deceived, have been given a second chance that the Deceiver has not! Praise God that we have been shown that Pride (or Self, or Sin, or whatever name it may fall under)—not God—is our actual mortal enemy!
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”   James 4:6-10
If I will bow my neck and deliberately place myself beneath the authority and power of God, I can be saved. If I will endure the temporary pain that comes with the death of Pride, I can experience the eternal glory of the Lord. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Happy are the ones who know they are helpless on their own, for they possess everlasting riches that no earthly ego or accolade or appearance could ever buy them.

The hard part is making this surrender on daily basis. Ultimately, I have humbly given myself to the power of Jesus’ blood for salvation—but daily, I find that helpless repentance is still required to enable this ongoing sanctification process. Some days, I just don’t want to feel the sting on my ego. Some days, allowing God to take on my battles seems impossible for the self-sufficient and stiff-necked person that I am. But every day, I’m amazed that God is still willing to do my dirty work when I finally let Him—no matter how many times I’ve willfully fought Him off.

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not a mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast in his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justices and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.”   Jeremiah 9:23-24

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