Monday, August 07, 2006

Substance Abuse

1 John 2
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world.
3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God's love[b] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Maybe I’m becoming something of a curmudgeon in my old age. Actually, I’m pretty sure I was one when I was younger too.
I want conversations of substance. Oh, I can be silly and ridiculous and downright stupid. Sometimes I lay down at night and wonder what possesses me to behave the way I do.
But when it comes to God stuff; give me substance. I guess this is a warning that I’m about to start challenging folks. I want to know what’s beating in your heart so if I’m unsure by what you’re saying, I’m asking the questions.
Christianity has become the only intolerable religion in a tolerant society. All other belief systems are considered cultural and brave and life-affirming while Bible-based faith is derided as judgementalism and, well, intolerance.
I cannot tolerate any more of it.
By substance I mean let’s discuss Jesus. Let’s talk about and wonder about and question the fall of man and redemption through Christ. Go ahead and debate with me if you will. Let’s look at the law and the Septuagint and the fulfillment through the Messiah.
Let’s search the scripture to find out what sin is and where we fall short of the glory of God. And how to make it right.
If you don’t believe that individuals have an eternal destiny in heaven or hell; be honest and tell me so we can examine where your thoughts come from and I can tell you about mine.
If you think the expression of my religion is zealous and over the top; don’t smile sweetly and pretend you think it’s all very admirable. Challenge me. I can take it. I long for it.
Here’s what I don’t want...the gospel according to Oprah.
“The light” or God help me, “the inner light”. What light exactly?
“I’m getting closer to God.” Please define that.
“Intrinsic goodness”, ok, you can say that but I’m gonna challenge it.
“God understands what I’ve been through”, that’s quite obvious. What does it have to do with anything?
“God and I have an understanding”, and that would be....?
OK, I could go on for quite a while here but I’m getting irritated just thinking about it.
I want to say something that is on my mind pretty much every day.
Do you or do you not believe in the Holy Bible?
I mean, if you don’t, just say so.
If you do, please find me the verse that excuses you from living full on devoted and sold out for Christ.
Why would you pray to a God you won’t serve?
Why would you thank God for dinner but not worship Him for life?
I don’t want superficial faithisms or pretentious nods to my Savior.
It hurts me. It insults Him.
We are not walking toward the light. God does understand our sin, but He doesn’t excuse it. Christ’s blood is the only way you or I are going to die and not go to hell. Living daily for God and searching for His favor is Christianity, not pretty words. You cannot know what Christianity is without the Bible being your lifeline. You cannot fake a relationship with Jesus and fool anybody. You cannot love God and resist worship.
You need God’s wisdom and strength to live a worthwhile life. God loves you despite your weaknesses and mistakes. God provided His son to die for you. Jesus Christ was a real man who willingly hung on a cross to offer his blood where yours is owed. God loves you and created you knowing you’d break his heart. God created a world with a road back to Him for you to take.
There’s a lot missing in my understanding and knowledge. The way I walk it out is sloppy and selfish and childish most of the time. I spend my days begging for God to cover my errors. I’m lazy about Bible study and take my blessings for granted. I need to grow a servant’s heart.
I need redemption.
I need to talk about it with substance.
Come on, what do you say?

Thailand Prayer Request: Kids to really understand the meaning of "doing for the least."


Birmingham Girl said...

"Why would you pray to a God you won't serve"...well said. I agree 100% and exactly what you wrote has been on my heart for a long time, I'm glad God gave you the words to write it. The Gospel according to Oprah won't get you into heaven it's all empty, feel good, politically correct spin. This is real and like you said , talk about it with substance.

Becky said...

i say this is a topic for P&P!!!!!!
love you.

Mags4HIM said...

I love this Sara.... I love the quote, " if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything". I want to be challenged to dig in God's Word and find what He says as truth, and know what His values are for my life. I was just reading some verses on the Judgement Seat of Christ this morning. Made me sit up and start evaluating my life through His eyes.
I love the idea of putting it out there like it is from God's perspective. Keep on keeping on girlfriend!

Tonya said...

Sara, Wonderfully written. I agree with your mom, why pray to a God that you won't serve. Perfectly put, you did a great job, and hopefully some minds will be opened with this. Love ya.

Deb said...

Bravo Sara!! Great post!

My favorite line.... "you cannot love God and resist worship". I am on the worship team at my church and my heart breaks when I look out over a sea of 'stone' faces --people not worshipping from their hearts! We need to "get back to the heart of worship...and it's ALL about You, Jesus..."

You have - how do they say - hutzpah! (don't know if I'm spelling that correctly) but at any rate...GREAT post!