Saturday, April 14, 2012

For Christ's Sake

I'm overly cynical lately.

I'm overly cynical because I'm weary of Christianity. I dislike so much of what it's become. And, if I (a Christian in full-time ministry) don't like what it looks like... why would anyone else? The more aggravating part of not necessarily liking how things look, is recognizing how I've fallen prey to the Christian culture.

I'm just as guilty of spewing out commentary that I don't actually mean, of wanting to tie everything into a pretty package with a bow on a top, of acting like I have it all together, of using Christian lingo without really understanding what it all means...

I heard an incredible sermon a few weeks ago about all of this. One of the things the pastor said that's stuck with me is the need to 'let God be who He is, not who we want Him to be'.

I think that's where my frustration stems from. That everywhere I look God has become so much of who we want Him to be. Whether it's verses that get posted on Facebook out of context, or the ways that we try to cope with each day--Christianity has become so much about us... It seems we tend to serve God for our sake, more than His sake.

It seems like we care more about God working everything out for our good.
We care more that we are given eternal life.
We care that He gives us everything we ask for.
We strive to be good people because we like the way it makes us feel, or we think it's the way that we are supposed to live in order to do things 'right'.

Check it out:
'But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ...' 
In context, Paul is basically saying that no amount of righteousness attained through the law (legalism) means anything. Even his good deeds, even his perfection as a Jew... none of it matters next to knowing Christ. Because of Christ, He has lost everything... not because of himself, not because of what he could attain... but for Christ's sake!

I honestly wonder how many of us have given our lives to Jesus for our sake and not His sake... because of who we want God to be vs. who He actually is.

Yes, God is good, He is love, He is gentle, and sovereign... but He is also jealous, and righteous, and holy, holy, holy... and filled with wrath. He is a God who demands His glory. And honestly, when I lay out all of His attributes, I don't necessarily like all of them. I don't like them because I don't understand them... and I have to choose to still love Him even when I don't understand Him, I have to choose to still trust Him.

Can our faith be transformed into a journey that is for His sake and not our sake?

I'm tired of making life about me.
I'm tired of making God into who I want Him to be.

He is.
I have to worship Him in the fullness of who He is, not just the parts of Him that I want. I have to get to a point where I know who He is, so I'm not making Him into something that He's not.

Let us toss aside that we may truly know Christ.
Let it be for His sake that we lose it all...

May we die, so we might truly live for Him.

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  1. yes.
    love, Alex

  2. The more we take Him as He is, the more of a blessing it is. Funny.
    The more we accept our smallness and insignificance, and embrace His vastness and glory, the more we are filled.

    I think we get it backwards. We want the blessing first. So we seek the blessing and not Him. But HE is the real blessing, and we are blessed by seeking Him. How could we not be when He is perfectly good and wonderful and beautiful, and He doesn't need ANYTHING. He has all He needs in Himself, and nothing and no one has the power to stop Him. To know Him more and be more one with Him... wow.

    I think this is where so many people go wrong in their battle with sin. We try to stamp it out on our own. We try self-control, accountability, discipline, we try distracting ourselves, or we sin so naturally we do it so much without a clue it even exists.

    When I try to deal with sin on my own, I go NOWHERE. Absolutely nowhere. When I seek God alone, He fills me, and suddenly I stop desiring the sin at all. It doesn't even make sense to me why I would ever want to do that. It is so much less than God and I know that because I am filled by Him.

    Our view of God is SO SO SO SO incredibly low. The more I grow closer to Him and the higher I view Him, the more I realize how low I view Him, and the more He takes sin from me the more I realize how much sin is in me. It's crazy. Just goes to show how infinite He is, that we can seek Him harder and harder and still have more to know and more to find, more joy to be had, and more of Him to be in awe of.

    We had a wonderful lady speak at my church last semester to all the women. She's a missionary and so she was talking about how a lot of times we take the bible and try to fit it into our culture and stuff like that. And how we as women are "too nice" to each other. She said we need to stop trying to comfort each other with pretty phrases as stuff. For example, she said that when someone has a break up or other relationship problems that people tend to say, "that's okay, that just means God has someone better planned for you." Or "You're still single because God knows you're not ready yet." and "God will bring you just the right man at the perfect time." I guess those things may or may not be true, but she was saying her daughter is 30 something and still single and doesn't know why, and who is anyone to say she is not ready, and she also said, "I wasn't ready when I married my husband! Who really is ready?" I wish I could repeat her words better but it was awhile ago. She was just so honest and down-to-earth and godly and refreshing.