What is life about?
All around me, I see things that bring me grief, when I observe what people are living for. And I don't have to look further than my own life, for that matter. What am I living for? This is not about someone else, it's about so many of us. Young and not-so-young people, living false lives, and I'm talking about believers. Am I talking about you?
Lose your programming (and your rehearsed responses) for a minute and attempt to hold something new in your mind.
All we like sheep have gone astray, each one to his own way…. True? The way that seems right to us (our own way) robs us of the abundant life that was promised… Still with me?
Abundant life is counterintuitive, because abundant life is not centered on the self, but rather, centered on the Lord. What does that mean? It means that our own way – the one that seems so natural – begins and ends with the self in mind, which is to make things more suitable to your wants, desires, comfort, wishes, dreams, and the list goes on. Right now the defense attorney inside of you wants to raise an objection! Have him or her take a seat. Jesus did not deal with the self life in half measures.
“If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me,” is one of His thoughts that comes to mind. No worries, that truth only applies if you want to actually follow Him. Often, today, we work harder to convince people we are following the Lord than we work to actually follow Him. While this is mysterious, it actually isn't. This happens when we are attempting to follow the Lord, while letting the self-life compete or remain intact. Ultimately, this cannot persist. It's not that you shouldn't try to serve two masters, you just can't.
We want to save a little something to the side for ourselves. This is borne of insecurity. When we understand that for what it really is, we will see that as an idol – yes, idolatry – that is a competing interest for our devotion to the Lord. False lovers lead us down a steamy road to destruction. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. What you are talking about is what your life is about. Are you willing to do an accounting? Once again, take a seat defense attorney…..
By this point in my thoughts, most people who read this will have already let themselves off the hook, or stopped reading, or both.
Something I heard many years ago which highlights this point has stuck with me. John Dillinger was an outlaw, a killer, thief, etc. His infamy is well recorded, and you have probably heard his name. When he was finally apprehended, and asked what he had to say for himself, he decried his guilt and demanded he was innocent!, claiming he was misunderstood and a victim of society. Point is, we tend to suspect everyone else while believing the “chamber of commerce” version of our own personal story. Your depravity shouldn't be in doubt. An innocent One died on your behalf, but He wasn't trying to prove your innocence, He was buying your redemption. You are as capable as anyone else of sin and destruction, both to yourself, and to the ones you love. If you don't believe that, you are deceived.
Let's go back to what makes me sad, if you will. Thanks for sticking with me. We are born with promise. This much is uncontested, at least in my mind. Even this is an idol that is worshipped, but the truth of it remains intact. Either way, we shouldn't worship the promise we are born with. Some say that we are born with limitless capacity, and that we should take this capacity and prosecute it to the highest degree. Sounds good so far. In the end, most of these voices lead us back to pleasure, self-aggrandizement, self gratification and self-actualization – the thrones of the humanist religion.
To those who are given much, much will be required, that much we can be sure of. However, for whose sake is this promise given? I propose, the promise we were born with is given with purpose. Grace is always entrusted with purpose in mind. We are given graces, in general, and specifically, for the purpose of following, obeying, and whole-hearted devotion to Jesus. People use their grace for a lot of things, many of which serve only to destroy them. Clearly, self-destruction is not the intent of grace. Even tho we change the glory of God into corruptible things, that is not the intent of the Giver. We are all learning, growing, passing thru trial and test. Nevertheless, perfectionism doesn't serve us, but makes us slaves of something other than God. Let's don't look at these comments with perfectionist sentiments. God is committed to our maturity, and His patience continues in this commitment.
But do we need to repent? Perhaps we do, especially if life has become all about something or some things it isn't intended to be about. Who am I to suggest to you what your life should be about? I am nobody. Exactly. At the same time, should we resist the power of suggestion if what is being suggested has weight of it's own, even tho one who makes the suggestion is contemptible?