Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crazy lessons from God: Part 1:

God is doing some REALLY fantastic things right now, and I think it should be shared for the whole world to hear...so I'm starting with you!!

Personally, God has been smacking me from every direction to show me that I compare, justify and focus myself daily according to OTHERS' lives and NOT HIS. A book, a shoe and a Truthful sermon showed me just how wrong I was! Since this revelation, I have made a "list" of sorts, stating all the specific things I need to stop doing and redirect to God. They vary from running speed to financial decisions to shoes (I will explain).

One of the more silly items on my list is Nike Shox. You see, it's not that they are a BAD thing. However,I had fallen head over heals (get it?!) for them, literally dreaming of myself running in them, thinking of all the ways I could save enough money to buy them, telling EVERYONE how amazing they were...you get the idea. I had become obsessed with these shoes. 1 week after my Nike love affair began, I started reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan (if you have not read it, you need to...seriously, now!). In Chapter 2, he asks, "Are you Ready" to go to Heaven. He uses the essay of a 12- year old girl to make his point:

"Since I have my life before Me"
By Brooke Bronkowski

I'll live my life to the fullest. I'll be happy. I'll brighten up. I will be more joyful than I have ever been. I will be kind to others,. I will loosen up. I will tell others about Christ. I will go on adventures and change the world. I will be bold and not change who I really am. I will have no troubles but instead help others with their troubles.
You see, I'll be one of those people who live to be history makers at a young age. Oh, I'll have moments, good and bad, but I will wipe away the bad and only remember the good. In fact that's all I remember, just good moments, nothing in between, just living my life to the fullest. I'll be one of those people who go somewhere with a mission, an awesome plan, a world-changing plan, and nothing will hold me back. I'll set an example for others, I will pray for direction.
I have my whole life before me. I will give others the joy I have and God will give me more joy. I will do everything God tells me to do. I will follow the footsteps of God. I will do my best!!!

Brooke used her money to buy her unsaved friends Bibles. After she died in a car crash at the age of 14, Frances Chan gave them to 200 people who responded to an alter call at her funeral. Watch his video to bring it home.

You see, it doesn't matter what car you drive, how many people are pleased with your ministry or job, or what shoes you wear. The dress code to get into heaven, is a heart of love and a life that reflected that love in EVERY action. We're going to screw up, yea. But in 14 years, Brooke lived her life to be Christ-like, and in response led 200 people to Christ. In 1 week, I told at least a dozen people the Nike gospel. Ouch!

Now, God has a funny sense of humor, and he knows how stubborn I am...so, He crossed his "T's" and dotted his "i's" through a "Truth Wins" sermon series. An "inconvenient TRUTH" that all mankind falls short of God's glory comes from Isaiah 64:6, "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags (literally translated as menstrual rags) before the Lord." Really?

After all, I think that compared to my shiny-new neighbors car, I look like a pretty good steward of my money. And I'm in a lot better shape than some of my couch potato friends. Oh, and I work in ministry, read my Bible, pray everyday--that's the song, right! So, I'm full of righteous acts! Wait, that's a good thing, right?

Wrong! Pastor Steve Demers graciously reminded me,in his sermon, "Compared to others, we think we look GOOD, compared to God we look UGLY!" Ugly?! But, but PS, I just lost 20 pounds, and I ran 8 miles today...could've gone as long as my friends if I had those Shox! (clearly, you've caught on by now, I'm a slow learner!)

Wait for it...
wait for it...

"No one is justified before God by the Law because the righteous live by FAITH". BAM! There it is...the gut shot that opened my eyes. By FAITH we are justified before GOD. Not before my Chevy-loving neighbor, not before a marathon runner, not before ______ you fill in the blank .

Funny, you'd think I'd learned my lesson, until 2 days later when I was 'doing the right thing' by completing my homework for Bible Study on the book of David:

David notes in the Psalms that, "every orphan will be adopted," He will not let us down (10:14). Similar to Peter telling us in 1 Peter 4:19 that we should keep doing good, Good people will barely make it to heaven, and the 'bad' people will be even worse off. You see, God is the ultimate judge.

Period.

He will give each of us exactly what we have coming, the good and the bad! So, God really doesn't care if my car is new or not: My husband and I prayed about the purchase and He led us to what was best for OUR family--not anyone else. Just because someone else can afford something, doesn't mean I need to try and squeeze it into my budget.

Likewise, God is proud of me for running for HIM. He asks me to set goals for ME and only ME, not the marathon runner down the street. On the flip side, I can have blessed assurance that God will deal with those people according to HIS perfect plan for them as well. Who am I to judge?

...no, really...
it has

NOTHING

to

do

with

my

RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST!!

Say it with me, "My neighbors, friends, family are NOT bowling pins in my relationship with Christ!" He wants me to admit, confess, love, accept, and grow as Erica, humbly before HIS feet. Not justify my life of 'righteous acts' by striking down my brothers/sisters in Christ.

God's on it. I can stop snickering, judging, resenting the 'righteous acts' of others. God leads that marathon runner, just the same as me. And, God will deal with those who I feel have wronged me, better than I could ever dream of 'dealing' with them myself. He's got my back....100%!!

So then, why do I constantly compare myself to these people, justify my actions because I'm
not as bad as so-and-so. This relationship that God has called me to, it's vertical....there is no third party. God doesn't say, "Well Erica, you have done quite well for yourself, but if you could just be more like Suzie, I would love you more." NO. NO. NO. It's all about HIM...HIS love for ME and HIS will for MY life. His perfect and pleasing will.

End of Story.

3 comments:

Mari said...

What a great message! I have to say that I love God's sense of humor and it's zinged me a time or two - or maybe more! Thanks for the lesson!

A Stone Gatherer said...

Amen! Preach if sista!!

Ashley said...

:) AWESOME. :)