Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Confession Time

God is working on me again and I just need to take a minute to confess, articulate and be honest so I can be held accountable.
We have been playing volleyball with a group of non-believers on Saturday nights for the last 4 weeks. They are a nice group of people but I have struggled with feeling like I fit in or how to interact with them and still represent God well! Sometimes it is hard for me to separate the sin from the sinner and not become haughty or judgmental. I often become self-righteous and harsh towards those who still act under slavery to the world. As I have been mulling over it and talking to God, He faithfully revealed to me what he wants me to change!
1st- He brought 1 Cor 5:9-11
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
2nd- He clearly delineates in this passage who we are to be careful of and who we are to freely engage. Unbelievers are not held to the same standards as the body of Christ and I need to stop judging them! He clearly came to seek and save that which was lost so I must be looking for and engaging these people too!
3rd- He desires to cleanse me of all unrighteousness and help me see the world and others as he sees it with eyes of compassion and love. Yes, they are lost and enslaved and we hold the key to the chains that so easily entangle. As God has loved me and set me free, so I must love others.
4th- I will continue to progress in this area and am by no means done but for now, I ask God's forgiveness and help. He is faithful to do that which he promised and will help me!
I will keep you posted on how these gatherings continue to go and how my heart changes.
Thank you Father for loving me and seeking the BEST!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rich Young Ruler- How do I compare?

I was reading the account in Mark 10 of the rich young man. He came and fell before Jesus one day and asked how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus saw that the man kept all the commandments and aimed to be perfect in his life. Then Jesus looked at him and with love said "One thing you lack." He instructed the man to get rid of all he had and come follow him. The man's face fell and he walked away saddened because he had much and couldn't stand to lose it.Two things leaped out of this passage at me and I started thinking about our own modern day experience of this.
First, the young man would have been considered the pinnacle of success in his day and culture. He had it all and I am sure that everyone talked about him being a success and a "nice guy." No one would have looked at him and saw anything lacking. He was obviously searching since he came to Jesus. He knew that there was still a hole in his heart and was trying to fill it. Jesus saw the lack immediately and told him how to fill it. Yet the trappings of this world and his success were chains around him that drew him away from his salvation and all the answers to this life.I wonder if this is how Jesus sees our successful modern world, especially in the West. We believe that we have or can get anything we need and end up blinded to what is real, true and our only hope. I can see it all around me and have to honestly admit that I get bound by these chains too. I walk away from the source of eternal life here on earth because I am stuck on the temporary material trappings I can see. I would say that these things are our modern day idols. Things that we put before God in our hearts and lives.
Second, the young man walked away. Jesus told his disciples that it is hard to get into the kingdom of Heaven when you are rich or chained closely to this world. They were astounded because they were also caught up in the outward perfection of the young man and missed the heart. Then Peter piped up about how they had left everything behind to follow Jesus. He replied that no matter what you leave behind for him here on earth, God will bless you 100 times for it here on earth and with eternal (as in forever) life and heavenly treasures there. God promises to come through for you above and beyond anything you can imagine if you will just choose him. The young man walked away because he could not see beyond the present or find the faith to choose God above all his stuff. But God has promised all of us that if we believe, He will come through!
Many people I know can't get beyond this big step of faith and so they never find the answer to all their questions and their heart's desire. Even those of us that have found a relationship with God need to ask ourselves if we are willing to put down all the trappings and let Jesus release us from the chains of this world so we can move forward. I encourage all of us to ask ourselves "What is lacking and am I willing to trust God for it? Will I lay down my idols for Him?"
He desires our best and the coolest part is that he even does the work if we will just say yes and believe. I can't lay down my idols on my own. But with God all things are possible. I simply have to be willing! What a comfort and encouragement. STEP UP AND BELIEVE! Anything that I think I might lose, He will exceed beyond my wildest imaginings.
I love God, he is awesome all the time!