Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Were You Thinking?

"Brown Coffee Blues"
(Cue crunchy blues guitar)
I woke up this mornin'
Stumbled out of my bed
Something, something, something
That rhymes with "bed."

I tasted my coffee
Blah blah blah blah
Wanting more coffee
Ya Ya Ya Ya!
(Last line intended to be sung with Swedish accent...Stockholm Blend)

I didn't have enough coffee this morning and therefore my lack of caffeine is even impacting my ability to have the Blues. It would be more true to say I have the "Browns" because coffee is brown (pitch-black in my case.) But, as brown is not symbolically associated in any way with music but more closely with a bad football team from Cleveland...I'll begin here by leaving well enough alone. I digress...whatever that means.

What I actual want to say:

I've come to realize that following the Lord means just that, following Him. It does not mean dressing up our desires in sheep's clothing. I have been able to justify many wrong-headed things in my life on the grounds (not coffee grounds) of the action or intention of following, "God's will." "Justification" is not a spiritual-gift...I believe this is a trap that many Christianesque-minded folks (as well meaning as we might be) when it comes to our pursuit of worldly things, desires and pursuits. Consider the following statements/interior thoughts which are not meant to be absolute statements against what they might represent, but are intended, merely, to allow us to do some self-analysis...

1) "I will do this because, after all, doesn't God want me to be happy?"

My how sly. What is the problem? Personal intention becomes the goal and God becomes a bottled-Genie. Instead of beginning with, "God, I want what you want when you want me to have it." It begins with, "I want it." Of course this is the essential plague of sin on humanity...nobody can escape this entirely. But it should give us pause next time we hear ourselves beginning with our own desires and not beginning with an ear and heart established in God.

2) "God can do anything He if it happens it must be His will."

This is equally, if not more, spiritually dangerous than #1. This view resigns God as the "paddle" and us as the "ping-pong-ball." This view has at it's very root a mis-belief that God is merely a "force" and not personal. This view of God is more akin to Zeus than to the God of the Old and New Testaments. Surely, God allows certain things and will withhold certain things...God does surely act in time and space and in our lives. However, He is personally concerned, primarily, with the state our souls and is not distant and aloof. It would be more accurate to say, "God loves me and all things that happen, He does allow, but that I might be drawn ever and increasingly closer to Him." Therefore, to keep God at a distance (as in statements #2) is to cheapen our view of God. He is involved, though often silent, but whether in silence or in speaking everything is intended to lead us, shape us and prepare us for heaven.

3) "I want to live a little first...I'll get back to God later."

There is no life apart from God. Every breath we draw is a sign of His love and faithfulness. God does not have a "pause button." Either you are moving toward Him or you are moving away from Him. Either you are currently aiming to give all to Him or you are in disobedience. With God there is no "middle-ground" and there is no "neutral." Jesus Christ said, "He who is not with Me is against Me." God is surely merciful but with limits. A day will come (be it at your own death or when Jesus Christ returns...whichever comes first) that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He IS LORD. If we were to do a poll in hell we would find that the majority of people there were surprised to find their souls in such a place. Some would dare to say that there is no hell. Those who maintain this view are guilty of spiritual-wishful-thinking. God is not your play-thing. As Jesus Christ said,

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Key words: fulfillment, kingdom of God, at hand, repent, believe, gospel. Now is the time. Now or perhaps never.

Finally, back to coffee and the blues. Justification of a coffee-addiction is one thing but justifying a life apart from God is quite another. Why would we do this? Simply because we have not had an encounter with God...or if we have encountered God we have chosen a path that is leading in the opposite direction. Return to Him and know true, abiding joy and peace...the best part of waking up.

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