Thursday, February 23, 2012
...If Anything is Excellent...Part 2
This series is changing the way I approach topics. Sometimes, I want to write scathing remarks about incidents in the lives of people I love. I keep wanting to defend the innocent, but I can't get more than a few paragraphs in before God kindly reminds me that innocence itself is the best defense. No amount of back biting--from whatever direction--will change that fact.
My remarks would eventually be lost in the cacophony of words that aren't beneficial. They aren't uplifting. And even my persuasion skills couldn't convince you they were anywhere close to Christ-like.
Like every other person, I'm stuck in the realm of first person perspective: I can't see beyond what I can see. I've had to use phrases like "That's not what happened" or "That information is pretty off-base." And like my juniors are learning with The Education of Little Tree, first person perspective can be fairly manipulative.
For Lent, I was determined to give up television during the week day. I was sure my time management skills would benefit, and I even justified I would get to spend more time in Bible study which would, in essence, draw my heart closer to God. But PastorJosh issued a different sort of sacrificial challenge: What if, instead of giving up chocolate, soda, television or facebook, the church determined that we would give up sin?
Instead of "giving up" for Lent, I'm determined to live differently. I'm praying that God will teach me to love Him with my heart, soul, mind and strength--with everything I have. And, in addition, I'm praying for a break from the first person perspective so I can pray like Jesus: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). I don't just want to pray that prayer in persecution. I want to live that life--the one that knows how desperately humanity needs Christ.
And I am not immune from humanity.
What if we determined that the proverbial "buck" stops here? What if gossip, immorality, judgementalism and hatred ended with us? What if we, as the church, determined to live the next forty days with Christ's heart?
What sort of excellent would that be?