Friday, June 28, 2013

It’s All About Me

Our title could be called the anthem of the modern world.  All too often, we hear, “I want”, “I need”, “I deserve”, and “give me”.  Much of modern day life appears controlled by sensations and emotions.  Self satisfaction is the focus.  I’m right and you’re wrong.  Self absorption seems to rule.  And yet, there’s:

Psalm 86:9 (KJV)  All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.

We are called to glorify God, not self.

I’ve had several interesting conversations, recently, all of them ended up pointing in one way or another to various aspects of grace.  They didn’t directly focus that way, but the conference I’m attending is about grace.  So, I may be more sensitized to more ways that grace applies or needs to apply.

One of the things I’ve been aware of for decades is that I screw up.  Sometimes I’m worse than others.  I’m human and I have a fallen nature.  Messing up is part of the program.  It’s an inheritance that I can’t get rid of on my own.  With that being my reality, picture someone coming along and enumerating my shortcomings, telling me I’m hopeless, and I need to do something about it.  Is that really what I need? 

Next time someone does something you really don’t like, watch what happens to your talking about it.  We may start with “you’ve done”, but it always seems to shift to “you are”.  At least in my case, being made more aware of how bad I am has never brought conversion.  Whether my bravado hides from others the fact that I know how bad I can be, or whether I openly admit it (and maybe even revel in it), that never shows me a way to change.  And it certainly doesn’t give me a reason to want to change.  Because that approach to my error gives no hope of a way out, no matter whether I want to repent or not.

If we look at who the Bible says are accusers or are labeled as the accuser, it’s only the devil or those following his tactics.  Satan would be very happy if I listened to the accusers instead of God.  He wants me to live in my failures instead of the success of God’s grace and mercy.  If I’m not saved, the devil wants me to come join him in his eternal misery.  If I am now a child of God and safe from an eternity in hell, Satan doesn’t want me to realize that.  If I’m focused on how bad I am, then I can’t focus on God and living in His plan.  The devil never wants us to be effectively promoting the plan of God.  And the reality is that, even looking  at others’ faults (toward me or otherwise), I’m also mobilizing thoughts that conflict with God’s thoughts.  What does God say?

Leviticus 19:18 (KJV)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
 
Isaiah 40:26 (KJV)  Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
 
Even in the Old Testament, where many would have us believe that God lives in vindictiveness, He puts forth principles of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  Every time we deviate from that, we deviate from the mind of God.  And, yes, there’s even grace, mercy, and forgiveness for that deviation.  Because God hates sin, but He loves His creation.  Until His omniscience says we are no longer going to accept correction and repent, He will keep giving us opportunities to get right.  And, if we’re to think with God’s thoughts, we need to do the same with others and, especially, with ourselves!

Probably just as important, there's nowhere in the Bible where it says we are to be judge and jury.  Even on Judgement Day, that's God's job, not ours.  We're merely given the privilege of being in agreement with Him.  We are given opportunities to discern where others may be "off", but that's so we can use love, grace, and mercy to draw them back.
 
So!  What are we doing today to live in God’s love, grace, and mercy?

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