Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If You Prefer To Stay Ignorant Don't Read This

If we honestly don't know that we are living a watered down form of Christianity then we don't know as we aught to know. Many of us fool ourselves into believing that we are honouring and pleasing God with the way we live. Unfortunately we are measuring our worth by what we don't do instead of by what we do. Some would say it is not about "doing" at all but it is about "being". I think James de-bunked that argument when he told us that he would show his faith by what he does. So if our "being" is revealed in our "doing" we must realize that our "not doing" just doesn't cut it.

What I mean by this is that we are pleased by the things that we don't do to offend God. We don't swear or smoke, or have sex outside of marriage. We don't dance, or wear make-up, or waste our money on gambling. We don't yell at our neighbour, hit our wife, or rob banks. We don't do a lot of things but this won't make up for the one thing we are suppose to do. We fool ourselves because we think that the absence of hate is the definition of love. We think that the absence of sin is righteousness. We think the lack of worship of idols is the worship of God. How wrong we are. Consider the greatest commandment:

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

This command is not defined by what it is not but instead by what it is. It is a great passionate love that encompasses the entire being; heart, soul and strength. This is not a second thought love or a "I will see if I can fit you in" love, or a once a week, month or year love. This is "I will sacrifice anything necessary to have" love. This is living the reality that there is nothing in existence in this universe that could compare to our love of the Father, Son and Spirit. Can we say that we love him, serve him, worship him with such a passion?

I think we conveniently forget some of the things Jesus taught. We forget because in forgetting we think we can claim ignorance. We forget because we are not sure how to deal with the truth. We forget because we do not want the truth to interfere with our lives. Well, here is the real "Inconvenient Truth":

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37-38)

Is Jesus being egocentric here? No, but he is speaking the truth plainly, that to have a relationship with him will require everything from us. We don't worship Jesus because we simply appreciate his sacrifice because his sacrifice was not a simple thing. His sacrifice should never be compared to that of a soldier giving his life for his country because it is far more than even this great sacrifice of a selfless soldier. Jesus showed us a love that cannot be compared as he left his place with his Father, gave up everything he had, to become one of us, being totally transformed for eternity, taking our place, taking all our sin on himself, the perfect God becoming sin ridden, and dying in that sin as the sacrifice so we could have life. Nothing can compare to that. It deserves, no, it demands a better response than a polite "thank you". It demands our total dedication. It demands a similar response of love. It demands that we love back with the same intense love that requires all of our heart, soul and strength.

We read the words but we don't understand the passion:

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 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:7-11)

What would drive men and women to face hatred, torture and death with words of forgiveness on their lips? What would drive them to risk losing their lives to tell a story people didn't want to hear? What would drive them to give up everything they had to take the story to the far regions of the earth? What would drive them to face lions, crucifixion, being burned alive? Love. Love for a Saviour who gave his all and who told us that the only response worth giving is to do the same:

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)

Now, I ask you, is there anything we do that demonstrates we have this love for Jesus? As you can see it is not the sort of love that can be defined by what we don't do. Passionate love is always defined by what we do. We are living a watered down version of Christianity and Jesus told us that being lukewarm will get us spit out. Our Father is not satisfied with second place or any other place in our heart except for first place. Jesus did not say anything different than what had already been revealed in the Jewish scriptures. The only acceptable response to the Father's love is a love that demands everything from us. He must take priority in our heart, in our soul and he must be what we spend our strength on. If we have any other motivation than his love, we are watering down our relationship.

Let's surrender ourselves to his love and allow him to captivate us again. Let's turn our back on the distractions and the things that pull us away from him and turn our eyes and hearts fully on him. Let's hear the voice of the groom again calling to his bride to come dance. Let's respond to that invitation and step out onto that dance floor with the intention to dance with all our passion. No more half-measures but instead our entire being poured into loving Jesus. Let us become a passionate people once more.

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