Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What We Live is What We Really Believe

If we seek ultimate joy in other things, and our Christianity is dry and lifeless, it only shows that we really don't believe He is supremely and sufficiently enjoyable and the portion of our soul forever.

If we live under a constant burden of guilt and trying to be good, and if we are constantly trying to justify ourselves by things we do, build ourselves up before God and others, it only shows that we really don't believe the gospel. We really don't believe it is all of grace and none of merit. We really don't believe Christ is our complete righteousness, our identity, our Rock, our foundation.

If we do not seek the lost, do not love and endeavor to love those around us, do not them about Jesus, it shows that we do not truly believe our Christianity. We do not believe they are creations, like us, sinners, like us, lost, as we were. We do not truly believe in a joyful heaven, in the glory of Jesus Christ, and we do not truly believe in the horrors of hell. We do not truly believe in salvation all of grace, by Christ alone, which we have done nothing to deserve, only to spurn.

We can talk about this doctrine and that. We can profess to believe them. We can prove them on paper. But our actions betray what we truly believe, what we truly apprehend in our souls and hold fast to.


“An infidel once met a Christian and said, ‘I know you do not believe your religion.’ ‘Why?’ asked the Christian. ‘Because,’ said the other, ‘for years you have passed me on my way to my house of business. You believe, do you not, that there is a hell, into which men’s spirits are cast?’ ‘Yes, I do,’ said the Christian. ‘And you believe that unless I believe in Christ I must be sent there?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You do not, I am sure, because if you did, you must be a most inhuman wretch to pass by, day by day, and never tell me about it or warn me of it.’” (Charles Spurgeon)

Monday, March 19, 2007

In God We Trust

I am usually not an "issues" kind of guy. I usually don't get wrapped up or write about how the 10 Commandments are being removed from such and such courthouse wall. I don't tend to forward the email out to everybody I know with the tag insinuating that "if you really love God" you will "pass this on." I do need to be careful, though, because I can't exclude myself from getting caught up in things. I do, more than I probably am aware of.

I remember recently receiving one of those mass-forward emails about the new 1 Dollar gold coins we have. It was full of all this talk about how "In God We Trust" is not included, and the note exhorted Christians to sort of "boycott" the use of the coin, in protest. Less than a week later, I read a news clip about how many of these coins, in circulation, lack the inscription due to an unknown error in the pressing of these coins. In other words, it wasn't by design. There is no grand conspiracy, here. We aren't being persecuted by the new American currency.

It really seems silly and sad that we almost are looking for ways to pose ourselves as persecuted and victimized in this country, despite how privileged we are. We seem to do a lot of whining, but we neglect our greatest weapon, which is the gospel. We would rather whip up hysteria and rise up in outcry as some kind of "battered victims."

We have a supernatural weapon, and we need to use it. We aren't persecuted. We aren't being killed or imprisoned for our faith. We can walk downtown and openly proclaim the gospel, hand out tracts, feed the poor and tell them about Jesus. We can assemble every Sunday without thinking twice about if we will be bombed or shot at. We can do all these things at zero risk (notwithstanding what people might think of us if we actually believe what we say we believe). We need to get over this garbage. We are priveliged, and I must soberly put myself in this category when I say, with trembling, that we will all stand before the Lord one day and account for what we have done with such privilege. I am not confident that my excuse will be satisfactory. Are you?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Comfort

There are a zillion books out there and a zillion stories and sermons for comforting Christians. They all tell us about how so-and-so endured hardship and affliction because he had Christ as his bedrock. They tell us cute little, clever little things like, "Would it be worth 50 years in suffering for the Light at the end of the tunnel, that is Jesus Christ?"

Here is what I hear very, very little of: What do you do when Christ, Himself, is ripped away from you? How do you survive then? All of those romantic little stories look pretty meaningless now, don't they? Oh, I know it only too well. I would not wish the hell of being blinded to Christ and cut off from Him on anybody, even my worst enemy. It truly is hell on earth. Yes, I imagine I would be able to suffer better, knowing that my future is glory with Christ. I imagine that I would be able to withstand just about anything, it seems, if Christ was my bedrock. Now, imagine that... and then strip Christ away. No matter how badly you desire Him, He is removed from your sight completely. Any attempt to have Him back is smitten with utter confusion and darkness and chaos. You cannot have Him. You cannot.

Now how do you feel? Welcome to my world. In time this storm will pass. I will have moments of peace, and I will taste of Christ, perhaps, but the majority of it is spent here, in hell, or in a dull, numb world where I can only exist with some semblance of functional normalcy by passing by prayer, passing by the Scriptures, or passing by thinking on spiritual things entirely. It is a world of pretend -of forced smiles and forced living. If you think you have the answer, if you think you know the problem, you don't, but I'm glad you are naive enough to think you have it figured out. Try living with it.

If you are one of those who thinks they know the answer or the problem, then I truly envy you. I know I am wicked to envy you, but I do. For, to you the gospel and Christianity must seem so simple and clear. It must be so... nice to have it be so. The times when it has been simple and clear like that have been few and fleeting, but I have had them in small tastes. I envy those for whom something like John 3:16 suffices and needs no explanation. I can't work, I can't do anything, nor do I want to, but I must. I am in a prison, a prison in my own mind. It has been about seven years so far. I wonder how many more?