In a culture where we are comfortable with a veneer of reality. Veneer, defined as: A deceptive, superficial show; a facade. To conceal, as something common or crude, with a deceptively attractive outward show.
I see us all as pretenders, posers, actors in a play we are calling "life". We know our lines. We know the scenes. We know when to come in and when to exit. We know when the crowd should laugh and we know when they should cry. Want to know how we know? Because we control what they know. We control the audiences perspective of us. The same actor can play a villain and a hero in the same night, and guess what, could pull it off beautifully! Have you giving a standing ovation for their performance. Bravo! Bravo!
Who are you fooling?
Me? Or yourself?
I'll answer it for you. You're fooling yourself. Me, yes---I matter a lot don't I? You fooling me will do nothing but make me say something like, "Man, that so and so is such a nice person." And I'll go home and sleep peacefully because it doesn't really matter to me if you tell me you're okay.
But you? You have to deal with your veneer and false facade. You have to look in the mirror and know you're lying on Twitter and Facebook. You have to look in the mirror and know that the smile you portray on social media and the pictures you take is actually a cover up of the pain and turmoil you're dealing with. And even in that you've managed to push your pain aside for some terrible doctrine some church has fed you and has you believing that your life should be better because you've accepted Jesus and it's not happening, which forces you to pretend. Live Your Best Life Now. 21 Ways to Finding Peace and Happiness. Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man. 5 Ways to End Depression. And the list goes on.
And for some reason, you avid church attenders have conformed to this silly assumption that if you have not mastered your pastors message series on Fresh Air, you're behind. And you begin to compare yourself to the other avid church attenders and servants of the church who appear that they have it all figured out, as if they've mastered Christianity. You compare yourself to their veneer, their mask, their costume, and you create your own.
And the sad TRUTH about this....you've already been exposed. There's already been a price paid for your sin and brokenness. Which means someone knew you were going to need it. Which means it was predestined, predetermined that you would need saving, healing, helping, assisting. There's already been a cross, which is a beautiful proclamation of the reality that you and I are wicked and corrupt people, incapable of doing anything good. Read Romans 3, Paul gives a good list of how none of us are righteous and that none of us are able to stand before God as if we have anything good to offer Him.
So since we like to compare ourselves to the "got it together" Christians, let me use that compare game to your advantage and explain the Gospel.
Imagine a ladder. The ladder is a measurement of growth. Each step is a level within Christianity. Now the lie you've believed probably your entire life is that Jesus rest on, let's just say Level 4. Some of you may think He's at Level10. Some of you may think He's at Level 200, impossible to obtain. But with anything, you think Jesus is at a level you're not at. I think this is the heart of why we say things like, "Spiritually, I'm not where I want to be". Because I think subconsciously we are saying this, "I want to be on the level where Jesus is, and I'm not there right now." Or it's "I'm not on the level Jesus wants me at." Which makes you think if Jesus is on Level 10, I'm probably still on Level 1. Some of you won't give yourself that much credit and you're not even on the ladder. And some of you are really hard on yourself and you'd say you're on the floor, face down sobbing, soaking in your own tears because of how much you suck at this Christian thing. Let me do something real quick.
I'm sorry that your church does not preach the Gospel. I deeply apologize that for some reason you have no understanding of the Gospel. You deserve to hear it, because it's the true proclamation and description of God's love for you. It's the Good News!
Back to the ladder. So the Gospel tells us of our condition, that we are all sinners and in need of a Savior, so it calls us to understand that the ladder doesn't even exist without Jesus--- but the Gospel is not just salvation. So it's not the fact that you're even present with the ladder. It goes deeper to the point to where the Gospel is for every level on the ladder. So do you hear what I'm saying?
JESUS IS WITH YOU ON EVERY LEVEL OF THE LADDER!! AND HE WANTS YOU WHERE YOU'RE AT! THAT'S THE POINT OF THE GOSPEL! When you get to Level 4, Jesus is there! When you get to level 200, Jesus is there! When you are on the ground, face down, sobbing, soaking in your own tears and failures, Jesus is there! He's not in love with a future version of yourself. He's not in love with Level 45 of Claude. He loves the version of Claude where Claude is at. The same for you. If you're on Level 4, He is delighting in you and wants you. If you're on the ground sobbing, soaking in your own tears and failures, He is delighting in you and wants you.
So stop pretending you silly people! You're already exposed! You have already been called out that you're a failure. That you're not that awesome. That you are wicked and terribly ridiculous. But this should not cause you to tense up, but breathe.
Do it again. Breathe.
God knew you were going to be a screw up. That's why His grace is sufficient. That's why He didn't wait for you to figure it out, He went ahead and took care of that. All you have to do is breathe in deep about this Good News and respond to the truth of Him with your life. Your salvation is the beginning of a new life. And the sanctification process is a dirty and gruesome time of development and healing. No "5 point message" is going to force you to get in the ring with God and battle out your issues. Oh, and your church probably didn't tell you this too.
When Jesus comes into your life, He is Lord, which means He is master of all. All or none. LORD. Meaning He makes commands and expects your obedience of love and worship. Meaning He is alive and active in your life because He is beginning to flush the Gospel through your life in efforts of making you more like Him. Guys, it's dirty work. The encouraging feel good messages are lies because this thing is not pretty. It's not cake on your birthday. It's ugly. God is bringing you to Himself even while you're offending Him, that's not a pretty love story. None of us are falling in love with someone who hates us. But God did. This thing is not mushy warm fuzzies tears in the rain, but more like the husband who jumps in front of the bullets that are aimed for his children. The love that jumps on top of a grenade to save his friends. Get it right. God is furiously in love with you, but it ain't sweet songs and soft kissy face love letters. It's deeper than that. He's saving you from death and an eternity in Hell because of His love----- and offering you life. Not a boyfriend, but a Father, a Redeemer, a Rescuer.
The cross exposes you, pretender. So breathe and rejoice because you don't have to pretend anymore.
Breathe my friend. Breathe. This is Good News.