Friday, February 26, 2010
i've been running lately. around my neighborhood, trying to get back in shape. just yesterday, i had a thought. here goes:
we live in a world of cars. cars everywhere. all around us, everyone needs to get somewhere, fast. and here we are, these runners on the side of the street. some of us are slower than others, some of us are faster, some of us are walking, maybe some of us are taking a rest. most likely, we have a goal in mind. we want to get healthier, we want to look better, we want to feel better. but we know that that means sacrifice. that means getting out of our cars and actually doing something about it. and we know how hard it is. the times we feel like we can't go on any further. the times that we feel like we're on the runner's high. the times it feels like everyone's going faster and doing better than you are. the times you wish you were inside of a car instead. but in the end, you know you'll be rewarded for your efforts. your hard work pays off. and the people in the cars don't know what they're missing out on. they don't know the exhilaration of finishing the run. or seeing the fruits of your labor a couple of months down the line. they want everything now. they need to get somewhere and do something now. there's no time to stop and go running. they have their own busy schedules and agendas to follow through on to get to that destination. maybe some of the people in the cars know what they're missing out on. they see the the results in some of us and yet they never take the risk or the initiative to change up their schedules to start running. they feel it's not cost-effective. and so they pass the opportunity up.
now this may not be the perfect analogy, but for me, the cars represent people who are living their own busy lives and schedules without submitting to Jesus Christ. and the runners are us, Christ followers. we know that the way is hard. but we know the benefits. we know what happens in the end. some of us are doing better in our "runs" with God and some of us are a little weaker. some of us have to walk slow before we can get up to a brisk jog. but we know the exhilaration of being in a relationship with Christ. we know the excitement and adventure that He gives us in pursuit of Him. we live in a way that's radically different from the world. we practice patience when no one else can stand it anymore. we practice forgiveness when the sin and the wrong seems unforgivable. we practice love when there is no reason but to hate. the people outside sometimes don't understand why we do what we do. sometimes they do. but most are too scared to give up their comfort. too afraid of change. not sure if it's worth following Jesus. "what do i get out of it?" "how is following Jesus going to make my life any better?" "it seems difficult and long. and look how much they're struggling! i don't want to deal with that!" but who said reward would come without hard work?? we have to put ourselves out there too. it's participation with the Holy Spirit in our lives that's the difference. we're not just waiting around for God to do everything for us. we're asking God to use us, test us, build us, strengthen us, empower us so that we can live for Him. and in return, we not only receive reward in the end. we've already received more than enough. love. everlasting love. unfailing love. the punishment for our sins was taken by Jesus as He put them on Himself so that we could be made clean. God loves us so much. we know that our heavenly Father cares deeply for us and plays an active role in our lives! and the world is missing out on it because they don't think that it's worth it.
invite someone to run with you. give them a taste of what it feels like to not only sacrifice, but to sacrifice because someone else already gave everything for us. to sacrifice knowing that He continually loves us and blesses us beyond what we deserve. let the world see why we follow Jesus. it's all because of His love. there is no greater love than this. and everyone needs love.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
this is a question i heard from matt chandler a while back. "where's the angst for God?" in other words, where's that deep longing?? where is that hunger and thirst for righteousness? where is that absolute need to see and touch God?? where is the yearning and the aching to be with the Father?
we know david was a man who was after God's own heart. we know the famous lines that now have been made into a song and even put on coffee mugs. "as the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after thee..." it's beautiful. but how often have we overlooked those lines and thought, "how nice. david longs for God as a deer longs for water." and leave it at that? where's the passion? where's the zeal? where's the desperation?? here's the passage in some more context:
i read this and i see so much more than a cliche line strewn across calendars and coffee mugs. i see a man in desperation in need of His God! he's crying his heart out to see the Lord! his soul pants, needs, cannot live without God! that's how much he needs Him! he goes on to say, "my tears have been my food day and night while men say to me all day long, 'where is your God?'" this man is broken. this man has been crying nonstop. he hasn't a friend in the world. and he knows the only person who can satisfy is God.
are we ever this desperate for God? are we ever so in need of Him that we cry out for Him? i mean, like, literally cry out with everything that we have for Him? it seems like most of the time we stuff down our emotions with other things when we're in trouble. we stuff down our depression and anxiety with food or busying ourselves with work. we stuff down the tears and emotions with laughing and joking and leave the problem unsolved inside of us. we stuff down the frustration and anger ignoring the problem and living our own lives. we stuff down shame and regret by changing the subject and running away. rarely do we say, "God! i need you so much right now! this thing has got my heart wrecked! everything inside me is broken! please, please, please come to me!" we seem to fill ourselves up with anything but God. the one person who can lift our burdens from us and help us deal with the issue. where's the angst for God? where's the constant longing for the Holy Spirit to be working in our lives because we know we can't do this life without Him? is it because we're not willing to give Him that place in our lives? is it because we don't believe that He's that strong? or is it because He just falls behind all of the other alternatives?