Friday, March 26, 2010

Confession pt.2

At Church lately we have been talking about confession and gospel. As a result I have been taking an inventory of my life. What I have done, what I am doing, and what I want to be. Simply put: I have sinned and I sin, but I want to be like Jesus. But do I? Since becoming a Christian I have seen the sin slowly melt away. I used to be angry with my mother, steal, lie, and cheat amongst other things. I have been redeemed in many ways from these debilitations, but there is always another waiting. Even as I type, I am reminded of my failures. I have hurt so many people over the course of even my Christian life that I am ashamed. I am a half-hearted creature fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered me – I am far too easily pleased. I want so badly to look each and every one of them in the eye, with tears in mine, and beg forgiveness. Even so, I will still fail you. But that brings me back to my point: do I want to be like Jesus?

Jesus said that if I would follow after him it would cost me my life. Have I ever taken the time to evaluate the cost? Nope. I have, since becoming a Christian, focused so much on becoming free of my past that I have failed in the present. I have spent so much time praying for the world that I forgot to pray for myself. As a result, I have indulged and fattened myself like a calf for the slaughter. I pray that the Lord will save me even from my “righteousness.” Sure, I give to the poor, love my enemies, and worship, but I am far from the presence of God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom: I am in bondage. I want so much out of life: I want to graduate from Princeton, I want a family, and I want to teach, but would I give all of these up to be like Jesus? Could I give up my dreams? I want with all my heart to say yes, but I cannot. These are good things that come from the Lord but, having come from nowhere, they are my salvation. They are my hope of something better. For years I have heard people say that X and Y were idols in their life and was a little apprehensive about labeling desires as such, but I am starting to understand.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The Apostle Paul said that the Kingdom of God was righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Notice what he did not say. He did not promise success, romantic love, or a good time. The glory of God is a man fully alive. To be alive is not a terribly sophisticated place to be. It involves two things: 1) Loving the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and 2) loving your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, to live a completely God-glorifying life I do not need anything but the Spirit of God inside me. But do I believe that? A tree is known by its fruit. For a tree to bare fruit is must be rooted to a source of nourishment. So, I propose a question to myself and to you reading this. By what stream does your tree find its water? Too often, I find myself anchored to the polluted water down by my dreams. Jesus said that His water was a life-giving spring. If my tree has to be cut down in order to be transplanted to the spring of life, will I welcome it? I hope so. How about you?

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