Monday, March 05, 2007

Take a Pill

There is an interesting emotional response to waking up. When one wakes up there is a joy at facing a new day with all its potential, and a dread that I have to get up out of the comfort of a good bed and sweet dream. This is not just true of literal beds and wakings.

I have been waking up to a problem of language in the church. It is one of those problems that some will say is just nit-picking... but I think it is truly deeper than just semantics. However, waking up to this knowledge brings me both the joy of knowing God’s heart and the dread of having other’s resist the observation.

I am sick of, and becoming offended by, the ideas “accept Jesus” and “allow Him” and the ever present question to struggling believers “are you letting Him be in control?”.

Jesus is God. Jesus is King. Think on that for a bit before you read on.

Do you accept (ask in, invite) the police to search your home when they execute a warrant? Do you allow the judge to pass sentence on you? Do you let the government authorities enforce laws over you? I am sure that some of you may argue that in a free society that we do allow, let, accept these things... but stop the theoretical and work in the reality. Those in authority exercise their authority without our assistance. In fact, applying the rules of a free society to the actions of a dictatorship will bite you in the gluteus every time.

Jesus is the King. He will go where ever he wants and do as he wishes. He has already died for all your sins. He has already invaded your mind and knows what is in there. He has already taken hold of history and WILL work out his plan to the end no matter what you do. You have only one option. You get to submit. Those that resist are brushed aside by history and those that submit join the parade of victory.

Oh! How distasteful that idea is to us! That is the VERY POINT! Our sinful nature wants to say that I am free, I am in control, I get to choose my own destiny.

There’s the rub!

We have turned Christianity into idolatry. We choose our own life as the focus of God’s work. We “accept” him into OUR life, then we “allow” him to make OUR life better, then we “let” him answer OUR prayers. No matter how you slice it, we have placed ourself on the alter as an idol that we want the will of God to bow down to. We have all the control in that language. It is all on us to have the right kind of faith or the right kind of knowledge to get what we want out of him.

Look at the church today. It is more a human-potential movement than an army of servants. The best selling Christian books and the most popular Christian speakers tell you how to get rich, get happy, get well, get ahead, get the Spirit, get the gifts, get, get, get, get.

We even go to church to GET Jesus, and our evangelism focuses on telling people that they need to get faith and get Jesus.

Jesus went to the Cross and died, doing two great things. First, he paid for all sin for all time in all people and became the deed holder to their souls, the lien holder of all our hearts and minds. We OWE him. He is not a choice, he is the King who will have his way no matter what we do. The fact is that the bill is so high that we can’t pay it back, so it is his free gift to us... but we understand this and walk in faith of this only by being bound to him, owing him all that we are and can be. Therefore, we must die to ourselves so that he rules us. The only thing we can do towards salvation is to get out of his way, to let our own will die, and submit to his control.

The second thing he did was to show graphically that his faith is one of giving. We don’t imitate Christ by going to Church to GET anything. We show the faith by GIVING. We start by GIVING up our idols and our will. We live by continuing to give up to Jesus so that he can use us to give to others. We should be people so wrapped up in giving (time, money, effort, concern, love, forgiveness) that we seem to hate all those NORMAL obligations of life (job, personal comfort, or as Jesus says: wife, child, father, mother).

It is no wonder the Church is sick. So much about the Church today is “feel good.” People come to learn how to stop hurting and stop suffering and stop worrying. A great line from a recent TV show I was watching comes to mind: "You want to feel good, take a pill. You want to get right, deal with the truth." We have Churches full of people that want to feel good. Sin makes you feel good! The whole problem is people trying to feel good. Do you really think that following Jesus FEELS better than drugs, sex and Rock-n-Roll? Jesus isn’t in that business! Look at how bluntly and (lovingly) frank he spoke. He wants you to be right. You are here to get fixed from your problem and the cure can be quite painful at times. And the only reason you are getting fixed from your problems is so that he can use you the way he wants to.

No one of the faith in scripture felt good about what they were doing. It was madness! It was frightening! The church should not be marked with a line of successfully “normalized” people who are comfortable and stable now that they have accepted Jesus. The Church should be seen as a terribly destabilizing force that drives people mad with unbridled forgiveness and indiscriminate love that crosses so many cultural taboos and mores that no one is quite sure what “rules” these people live by other than the love and forgiveness.

The Roman solders, professional and orderly above all other forces, broke ranks and ran at the site of Celtic warriors coming at them. The Celtic tribes ran into war with abandon, disorderly and wild. They were naked and painted blue, woman and men fought together, all thrust into the battle with NO FEAR of death because they were already dead to the NEEDS of the tribe.

We need that abandon! Rushing into the danger of loving and forgiving people that are enslaved to their own flesh and to the world. Teaching them that Jesus is already here and in control. They just need to strip off the clothing of civilized selfishness and paint themselves as dead men with no concern for their own needs and feelings. The King is in control and we are here to do his will, and his will is that we love others more than ourselves. If you are not willing to do that simple thing, then no amount of belief will save you... because you have rejected the lien that the King has against your holdings and you are rebelliously trying to take that which you do not own.

You cannot ask Jesus into your heart. There is not enough room. You can only die so that Jesus can finally control what he has bought and paid for! Then you will have a life of danger, adventure and power. You just have to sit back and watch what he does with you.

If you love your life, you will lose it... but to those that die to the self, there is everlasting life.


amanda said...

Amen! Preach on.

"You get to submit."
And. . . even the submission I can't do on my own. His grace alone gives me the ability to submit.

The Haggard said...

Now I am running into problems that are beyond my understanding. Which is okay... God knows.

I reject predesination and know that I have free will. But I also know what higgldy-piggldy free-will can cause determination! So...

My only rational view is that HISTORY is predestine and that MAN has free will. That free-will is in fact the whole problem with my sin and rebellion. So the grace of Jesus not only forgives my sin, but must also make up the difference in my imperfect submission to him. Wow! We not only can do nothing to earn salvation... we can't even do enough to accept salvation unless he finishes the work in us. We are predestine to be saved... and we mess that up for him all the time... so he has to continually do the Romans 8 thing and WORK OUT his will within all the variables of our messed up life so that his predestine plan will come to fruition DESPITE my obedience or lack there of.