Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trusting Truth- 40 Days of Psalm 37 (Day 21)

"The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;"

Today is one of those days that this blog could go one of like forty directions, but because I'd like you to read the whole thing, I will dial it in to where the Spirit is leading me. First, I have to state the obvious that it's hard to not prove some "great" point about the wicked borrowing and not repaying as the reason for an economic meltdown in the United States. I could just as easily discuss how this credit loving, consumer culture has possibly put America in a hole so large that even so-called Christians are questioning whether or not God cares anymore? Ironically, that mentality of wondering if God cares anymore is exactly where this verse is leading us today. We have become so "fat" on the "good life" that our relationship with God is one based on false gratitude as opposed to a healthy "fear" of Him. (please read J.P Moreland's book "The Los Virtue of Happiness" for a true definition of the "good life" as defined by the "ancients".) It may be hard for you to take, but it's most likely that God, the way you see Him, is no more than a fairy tale or "wish giver" who is here strictly for you. His make-up is more Aladdin than Shepherd, and that is the reason why we tell Him what to do as opposed to trusting Him as the provider and giver of what we need.

When we first look at this verse it is so easy to breeze over it as it appears we keep reading David saying the same things over and over. (Did I really just use the words "it" and "over" that many times in a sentence. It's so hurting in the creativity department I will keep it just to keep me humble). We more or less take this Scripture as another definition of the wicked when compared to the righteous (us) and in our lack of humility automatically assume that because we did an alter call twelve years ago, or show up at church on Sundays, have parents (or children) that are Christians or pray before we go to bed that we can be thankful that we don't fit in that "first part". We assume repentance is a once in a life "thing", and once it's done we not only receive the grace (which is free) but also the benefits of what the World tells us we need. How quickly we forget that His Kingdom is "not of this world" and His ways are bigger and wiser than our own. His grace is enough!

Unfortunately for us (me included), we are part of a generation of consumers that have taken this passion of more, bigger and better into what we expect in our relationship with God. Whether we admit it or not, I'm willing to bet that 95% or more of your relationship with God (going to church, joining a "life group" or "small group", praying, etc...) is about you getting what you want, and the thought of giving yourself away only comes when you get something out of what you are willing to give. We attend churches because they are easy and we can count on them to always "give us what we want". They make you feel good, they don't offend, they are entertaining, they are funny, they add another "notch on our belt", and they don't condemn us even though our spiritual growth has become horizontal (knowledge of culture) as opposed to vertical (relational with Christ, which includes the relationship with His body). We join "small groups" because it's "hip" and we are told we're supposed to on Sunday by some guy who doesn't even realize that the Spirit has left his man made church building. Same thing with the new "amazing" (a word that the church has ruined the definition of ) ministry we "have" to join because we then look "awesome" to those around us. We go on mission trips because we heard somebody else "felt great" when they did it. Whether you realize it or not, you have become a consumer of Christianity who fails to repay or give away the same gift you have received from Christ. You have made God the ultimate vending machine and gone is the death to self that Jesus preached as you look for ways to get more from Him as you know you don't have to repay. It's the death to self that changes us from a consumer to a giver of self but we have become wicked like the world around us as our goal is to satisfy and gratify our wants. You, me and all other believers who have sub-consciously "conformed to the ways of the world" and are living like this life is all there is as we consume everything in sight.

As followers of God, we too often try to borrow things that are gifts (i.e like a bite of a sandwich which as you know, you can't borrow since the bite is not something you can give back), and fail to recognize that when we consume in our relationship with Him, we are unable to respond by giving ourselves away (which is the only way to repay Him, i.e "go and make disciples"). To be honest, in God's "economy" there is no borrowing, and only free gifts. It's the worldly teaching that teaches us to try and earn grace when it's free, or prove to God that He should "take care of us" even though He says He will. Both of those things are gifts that don't need repaying. Instead, those gifts are to be an example of how we can give "generously to others". We must not forget from earlier passages in Psalm 37 that true "righteousness" is only obtained when the Spirit takes over your life. Therefore, when the Spirit is taking over your life, you become a "giver" because the Spirit is a giver. Basically, we are wicked until we allow the Spirit to make us like Jesus. If you are consuming the Christian lifestyle, and are not following Jesus repent and allow Jesus to be "in" you as He leads you.

If you fit the definition of the consumer Christian above it's time to recognize that WE need to move in the direction of letting go. The more we let go of ourselves, the more the Spirit is let in and we begin to give freely like our Father in Heaven. Though it is painful to let go of yourself and nobody wants to deal with "pain" we forget in our consumption of this life that many times it's actually the peace in our "painful giving" that makes us most like Christ.

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