Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Clingy Boyfriend

Let me begin by saying that we are incapable of fully grasping the character and nature of God.  But, I do want to attempt to explain something.

I think we are losing the weight of God's relentless pursuit of us by overly communicating it AND not properly defining the words to describe His pursuit.  I'll explain.

I recently got this thought that I think we treat God like He's a clingy boyfriend.  Because we over-communicate the truth---and yes it is the truth---of how much He loves us.  We say so often things like:

He is jealous for me.  He's longing for my affection.  He's desperately chasing after me. He's not mad at me, but He's madly in love with me.  Oh how He loves me.  He loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me.  He's longing for a relationship with me. He's always searching for me.  He's showing up at my job in conversation.  He's always near me.  He always want to talk to me.  He's always available.  He's always on time.  Whooo!!

Sounds like God is really feeling me huh?

And how will our sinful and prideful hearts have the tendency to respond?  We puff up and just act like we don't have to respond at all to this clinginess.  Now here's an undershot at women to better explain this.  Women have the tendency to be highly inconsistent with their "clingy" tagging of men.  Now I know there is a line that some men cross, but I have known guys who are genuinely showing interest in a girl and have been called clingy.  Why?  Because the girl wasn't responsive to his kind of interest.  Or, the girl didn't see any value or didn't have any interest in getting to know the guy.  Because here's what I can bet my entire savings account on.

Let's create a scenario   If you are a girl and have called a guy clingy, or vice versa, whatever.  Take the same situation, the same gestures, the same attention, the same pursuit, and let a guy who you're attracted to and want and desire do the same things and you will melt in his arms.  Am I right?

That happens because you have a value and interest in the guy already.  And we won't even get into why you're probably interested anyway, that's another blog for another day. But check this out.
Isaiah 6:1-4 tells us, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim.  Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called to another and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory".  And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke."  

Think about the majesty of God.  See the reverence in this passage?  When you're looking at storm clouds and a fear enters deep into your soul.  What is that?  Or the idea of something creating something by just speaking.  Not yelling.  Not working hard on, but speaking the entire Earth into existence and filling it up just by speaking.  Think about a glory so mighty that this seraphim has to cover his eyes and feet because he can't stand to see the face of God or to even walk on the same ground as God.  The creator of volcanoes and hurricanes.  The creator of the Grand Canyon and Mount Everest.  The creator of the vast oceans.  The solar system, created by God.  All the stars, He's naming and numbering them.  

That's the God that's after you.

And let's not lose the weight of that.  I hope your chest is getting tight at the idea of this kind of God is after you.  And we need to try to get the character of God straight and not see Him as this clingy, jealous, insecure, lacking, bored, sissified, "don't have anything better to do so I'll create some rebellious greedy humans" kind of God.  And start seeing Him as a commanding presence worth glorifying with our lives.  A presence that's demanding love and worship.  He's not forcing, but He is commanding us to love and worship Him.  I'll help you with that.

Imagine you walking into a store with your mother, and you walk up to another woman and start praising her as if she was your mother.  Your mother will get angry.  Why?  Because that's her glory that you're giving to someone else.  Your mom will probably say something like, "After I've carried you in my womb for 9 months and dealt with that painful birth and changed those diapers and spent countless hours awake with you and...the list goes on".

That's the kind of jealousy God carries for us.  It's not out of some insecurity or loneliness.  He's God.  By definition that means He's self sufficient, self sustaining, without need, perfect.  If we completed God with our love then He wouldn't be God because He wouldn't be perfect.  His pursuit of us is to bring His name glory.  His pursuit and love and passion for us is for His name sake.  Not because you're awesome, but because He's awesome and He wants His creation to give Him what He deserves.

Don't get offended by that.  Because this understanding with help you encounter more of the fullness of God.  You understanding His glory will help you understand His worthiness.  God is not clingy.  He's after His name to be glorified by you, sinful wretched man.  And how does He get it from people like us?  He restores and redeems us with His love and mercy.  And when you begin to understand that God can do whatever He wants, the fact that He chose to love and have mercy on you will tear your heart apart and you'll fall more in love with Him.  So that relentless pursuit, even though it's motivated by Him getting His glory, is His display of faithfulness to His creation.  He wants relationship because He's thinking, "That's how they'll worship me how they should...when they know me.  They'll love me like they should when they know me.  They'll obey me like they should when they know me."   

My friends.  Let's ease closer to enjoying the fullness of God.  Understanding His character drives you deeper into your worship of Him.  Realizing His value greatly melts your heart when you realize that out of all the things He could be doing that's much cooler than me, He's choosing to deal with me on a personal level.  That's the God that wants to know you.  He's a commanding presence.  You want that in your life.  Trust me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pro Choice

This is not about abortion.  So you can breathe. 

This blog did arise from the protest against the anti-abortion display on the Auburn University concourse.  So in some way, it kind of is.  Because honestly, this entire blog is about one of the signs I read by the protesters.  The sign pretty much paraphrased the definition of "pro-choice". 

"I have the right to do what I feel is better for me." 

Do people really believe that?  Like, seriously? 

Let's examine some major contradictions that can potentially RUIN that entire theology.  First of all, do we not see how dangerous that is?  Yes, I know the point their making.  But this is the reality, in that theology or framework of how the world works, we are creating a religion called, "Me", in which anyone can write their own bible and make up their own laws and so whatever seem "right to do" in their heads will become the religious text of this religion. So a guy who follows the "Me" religion, can convince himself that revenge needs to happen on all the people who picked on him in high school, and he can justify this in his head by declaring, maybe even consulting with the other two parts of the trinity, "Myself and I", and coming to a central census that yes, revenge must be done.  And they go and shoot all the young people in cold blood at the school, and maybe even take out some more for fun. 

But I have the right to do what I feel is best for me.  Because it's all about me.  Do we not see how scary and dangerous this is? 

So you call the shots?  You?  You call the shots to determine what's right or wrong?  You?  You who loses your keys probably once a week.  You who can't remember a persons name you just met 39 seconds ago?  You, who need a smartphone and a planner to keep up with your mediocre life, and just your life.  Hahaha.  I love that we actually believe this stuff. 

Oh we can go bigger.  You?  Who can't slow down or stop or prevent your death?  You? Who can't control the weather.  When it rains and ruins your baseball game, you stop it the rain?  No, what happens, you have to postpone the game.  You lose in that fight, everytime.  Haha, I know that answer.  You call the shots?  Dude, ma'am.  Yeah right.  You don't. 

Interesting thought about free will huh?  God does give us a choice, but the consequences of those choices fall upon the ultimate authority.  So sir/ma'am, I will sit and listen and be all ears for your argument against God, but honestly, what is your credibility and point when you argue against God? 

God, you need to lighten up a little bit.  It's 2013, things are different. 

Yeah, let's raise our fists up at God and tell Him how wrong and unfitting He is in our culture, and that He needs to adjust and conform to us because we're calling the shots now.  What does He know?  He's old anyway right?

I'll end the sarcasm and get serious.  We are living in a terrible time.  If we continue to ignore the Bible as the inerrant word of God and instead decide to create our own glorious scripture with our Facebook posts of out of context scripture or just flat out disagreements, we are leading ourselves to our own destruction.

If you're interested.  Read this old blog I wrote a few months ago.  It'll be a repeat of what I've just ranted about, and bring in a little uplifting truth about our response when we realize that we're really not as awesome as we think we are.  The blog is called, "You're Not That Awesome". 

Thanks for reading. 

Remember Me

This is such a simple idea.  You'd think it would be easy for us to "Remember God".  But even biblically, there seems to be something wrong with God's children because He has to consistently remind them throughout the Bible to "Remember Me".  Many scholars of the text even say that perhaps this is one of the biggest things God communicates to His people. 

Remember Me. 

Why does He have to continue to remind us of this?  Since a lot of us only see sin has "bad things we do", then this is a perfect example of how that's NOT true--and how instead this is a great example of the doctrine of sin exposing itself naturally from within us as simply a heart issue. 

So let's begin with this, God's children has ALWAYS handled blessing terribly.  The children of Israel throughout the Bible is on this flip flop status with God.  He rescues them.  He redeems them.  He restores them.  He blesses them.  They rejoice and worship.  Then they get comfortable.  They get arrogant, rebellious, ungrateful, then they pull away from God.  God grants them the consequences of their disobedience, meaning He punishes them.  They cry out.  He has mercy on them.  Repeat cycle. 

Now there's two ways to see this kind of covenant relationship.  First one, don't you dare call them idiots.  I'm writing this blog because we do the same thing, ehh, weekly.  If you want a very good compressed listing of this cycle, read Nehemiah 9:7-36 when the Israelites are confessing their sins of generations of disobedience.  Guys, it's heart wrenching when you begin to notice this cycle.  But again, there's two ways to see this kind of covenant relationship.  Please go read it, I'll give you a little paraphrasing from verse 7-16. 

Lord, you saw the suffering of our ancestors of in Egypt, you heard their cry at the Red Sea.  You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh, because you knew how they were being treated.  You divided the sea before them, let them pass on dry land, You hurled their pursuers into the depths.  By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire.  In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and their thirst you brought them water from the rock..... BUT THEY BECAME ARROGANT AND STIFF-NECKED.  

Now I know it's easy for us to read these stories and be like, "Dude, God just hooked ya'll up.  How are ya'll tripping like that?"  Yeah when you're reading it, it seems like on Christmas Day the Israelites are forgetting Santa Claus.  But think realistically, these events had to have happened over a period of time: days, weeks or months, which begins to resemble our crazy inconsistent Christian walks doesn't it? I love how I can easily go from being so in love with God in a worship service, singing songs of my undying and unrelenting pursuit and passion and desperation and commitment, and within 24 hours find myself lusting for youthful desires and pursuing death.

Symptoms of our sinful nature.

As long as we are in these bodies, we are wrecked and broken and desiring of death.  It's what our bodies deserve, and it knows it.  So that sinful nature still plucks and pleads and begs for the opposite of what God wants for us.  And this is why we should be so thankful for the Gospel.  That our salvation is not dependant on our begrudging submission and works.  That's why we should be so thankful for a righteousness that is not ours, but is of God in which He has chosen to mark us as holy and blameless before Himself because our faith is in Jesus.  That's why we should be thankful that we are justified before God.  Jesus, having absorbed all the wrath from our sin, from God knowing that we do not handle blessing well, He knows His children.  He saw it all through the Old Testament.  Even giving the Law to point to our flawed nature and in need of a Savior.  Eerie how nothing has changed huh? 

Now the second way to look at this kind of covenant relationship.  We'll go back to Nehemiah 9:17-18

"But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,  even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies."

The most amazing "but" you'll ever read in your life.  And the text goes on and on about how even though the children of Israel have completely dropped the ball and rebelled and stopped listening and stopped obeying, but God, being forgiving and gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, continues to choose to restore and redeem when He hear His children cry out for Him.  The second way to look at this kind of covenant relationship is "Look at the heart of God for His children."  Don't miss that. 

"Look at the heart of God for His children." 

Sorry, but this is the part that shouldn't make sense to you.  But for some reason, His grace and mercy proves to be sufficient.  And all He's asking us to do is, "Remember Me.  In your blessing.  Remember Me.  Remember who has redeemed you.  Remember who has restored you.  Remember who has blessed you.  Remember who has given you the influence.  Remember who has given you sex and marriage.  Remember who has given you health and prosperity.  Remember who has given you the capacity of love in relationships.  REMEMBER ME." 

I wept in church the other day because I realized that I was behaving like the Israelites.  God has invited me into fellowship with Him and has given me such a peace about life that I feel like I can prop my feet up on His warm cozy couch.  But my sinful nature has shown its ugly face and I've been ignoring His grace, ignoring His mercy, and the truth that I don't deserve the fellowship He's invited me into.  Today, let's Remember God.  Let's remember what He's done for us.  Let's not get comfortable in the blessing, but let's pursue finding this balance between humbly walking in grace confidently.  Lol. 

Humbly walking in grace confidently.