March 28, 2009

Don't Live For God

Disclaimer: I did not write this. A dude named Mike did. You can click on the title of this post to read more of his insightful thoughts.

"Think about it.
A people that praise Him because of who He is.
Doing things because of what He has done.
A church that loves, and forgives, because He first loved them.

Oh how beautiful that would be.

Like my pastor frequently says,
"Don't show me a church that loves God, show me a church that believes
they're loved, and I'll show you a church that God is using."

But sadly, most of miss this one crucial point.
We go to church and we hear how we need to change the world,
how we need to be better Christians, and how we need to make our lives
count, and have maximum impact and how we need to live with purpose, blah blah blah....
And we buy into it. We live harder. We make promises to ourselves.
We memorize the formulas and purpose in our hearts to do better.
But for what reason?
To be honest, it makes me sad to think about,
how many people have been led astray
by the self-help methods and strategies of man.
How many people still don't believe they're loved because
they just can't seem to live up to the spiritual bar they've erected for themselves!
How rarely do we stop ourselves long enough to ask the most important question?
For what purpose am I living for God?
To be accepted or because I already am?

Friends. This one question will make all the difference.

If it's for God and not because of God, two things happen.
We will either live up to all our trying,
and consequently feel really great about ourselves
and look down on everyone who can't live like us,
or we fall short of our resolutions and instantly begin to sulk about how we'll
never be who God wants us to be!
And so it goes. A vicious cycle of swaggering and sniveling.
We're up when we succeed, and we're down when we fail.
Up. Down. Up. Down. On and on and on we go.
Caught up in the halls of introspection, not realizing that the gospel doesn't
make us better people, it just makes us forget about ourselves!

Kind of like Rocky though, you know?
You ever scene that movie?
Remember when He slurs to Mickey,
"if I just go the distance, then I'll know I'm not a bum!"
For Him, He had to go the distance.
That's what it would take to validate Him. To give him worth!
What is it for you?
What are you trying to prove?
What do you need to accomplish in your life that will finally make you feel like
you're not a bum?

Here's the deal.
Romans 12 warns us that there's a problem with living like that.
It says, "therefore, in view of God's mercy, present your bodies as
a living sacrifice to God."
Did you notice the first phrase?
"Therefore, in view of God's mercy,"
And you know what that's saying?
It's saying, before you start trying to live for God, you need to really understand
what's He done for you. You need to understand that you are a bum!
You are a complete and total failure but BECAUSE of chapters 1-11,
because of all that Christ has done, in view of his mercy,
in response to his audacious sacrificing love,
you need to go and live like you believe it.

In other words, our doing is a response to what He has already done."

-A guy that I don't know too well, but respect wrote this. If you want to read more of his
awesome ramblings, click on the title of this post. I really feel like God is speaking through
him and changing lives all over this country because of his band.

March 26, 2009

Fiction Family and Identity

I nervously bought the new album from Fiction Family today in hopes my money was not being wasted. Fiction Family is a side project that Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) started and today they released their first album. I’ve only listened to the first two songs and I already feel it’s been worth the 10 bucks.

I couldn’t get very far into the album because I know God was speaking to my heart as soon as the first track began to play. I wanted to meditate on and share what I feel God was nudging me with. Hopefully this can lead you closer to him.

The first song on the album is “When She’s Near”. What I got out of the song was that the writer is relying on an intimate relationship with a girl to satisfy himself and find his identity. “My cover is blown...When my love is away.”

This hit me hard. I identified immediately with the first verse and realized how cover blown I feel sometimes. I try so hard to find my identity in all the wrong places. Close friendships, girls, clothes, popularity, music and the list goes on. I remember just last week realizing how safe and secure I feel around certain, dare I say, popular people. I know better! I am a christian and I know Jesus has the only water that can quench this seemly unquenchable thirst.

I’m not going to skip around the deep issue. I care a lot about what people think about me sometimes. My mind is non stop record player of lies. I’m not funny enough to talk to her. Let me impress this person with my guitar skills. They must think I’m a pretty important person because I hang out with this person. If I impress her with this maybe she’ll like me more. Lies, lies, lies! My identity is found in Christ and no one else. Jesus is the only one who can wipe me clean of my brokenness and give me my identity in him alone. All the strategies my mind and I devise to impress others and find satisfaction in anything but Christ are futile in the end.

Over the weekend I heard someone talk about the sword of the spirit (which is the word of God). They explained that when your mind is under attack and filled with lies, stab the lies with the sword and put an end to those thoughts. Since the sword is the word of God, we really need to get serious about filling our mind with God’s word to combat the lies that dart through our heads. It’s so important to meditate on the fact that I don’t need to work to impress God, Jesus has done all the work for us on the cross. God loves us so much! The most famous, important person to walk the Earth is jealous for me. Let’s just rest in Christ and let him be our identity.

So instead of allowing my mind to continually preach lies to myself, I’m getting serious about filling my mind with the word. I’m sharpening my sword ready for battle. As I find my identity in Christ I’m more alive and accepted than ever before.

So...I don’t think this is what Fiction Family was going for, but oh well. Enjoy the music. (Click the title of this post to hear the song)