I’m not sure we’ve realized . . .

Simply love.

This is the Gospel defined.

The older I get – the more interaction I have with God – the more I recognize the faults of humanity-defined Christianity, and the more I am taught Christianity is a simple definition. The more I recognize the attempts the church makes to earn it because of the denial to just simply receive. We even do it with good intentions, saying things like, “faith is shown by deeds,” yet changing the definition of Paul’s words to mean “If you don’t do good deeds, you must not have faith.” We believe in God’s grace, we sing about it in songs, and we even thank God for it when we do something stupid. But our minds are programmed differently.

Time for a reprogramming.

It’s not in our nature to just simply accept. We’re not taught to be given something without giving something in return. Human relationships are often defined by give and take. We’re given to, we give back. We feel loved, we show love. Christianity isn’t like this – at least not consciously.

Christ asks for nothing in return. Nothing we can possibly do can be done to earn what He did. And He knows that. He knows that the more we try to do good deeds, the more we look at ourselves and rate ourselves based on those good deeds. He knows the more we try to not to bad deeds, the more we think about bad deeds, and the more likely we are to do them.

The truth is, there is no checklist in gaining acceptance or overcoming temptation. Because checklists say the wrong thing at the top: “Here’s how you do it.” Nothing in Christianity can be accomplished with the right motives if we write out a list of how “you” can do it. Because the word “you” is not the word “him.”

This is where love comes in.

The more focused on God I become in life, the less I consciously try to have an impact for Him, and the more impact I have, because the more I fall in love with Him. Look at all the greatest evangelists you know. How many of them have testimonies full of failure sin and destruction, only to reach a point where they realize God forgives? I find myself jealous of “born again” Christians sometimes, because they’ve been through the worst of the worst, and fall deeply in love with God when they truly realize that He forgives and the past has been erased by His blood. They never have a moment where they can take Christ’s actions for granted. They never have a moment where they’re doing it for approval.

They never have a moment where they worry about being a “good Christian,” because they realize there’s no such thing. There’s only a good God. And there’s only one response to His goodness – unbridled, passionate love. They’ve recognized that they’re story has a joyful ending, and they don’t understand how they can’t share that ending with people whose story might be in conflict.

If you’ve experienced the source of Joy, why haven’t you told anyone yet?

I’m not sure many Christians have truly experienced The Source. I’m not sure many Christians have moved past the stage of “good Christianity” in order to recognize the good God behind the to do lists. I’m not sure many Christians have changed the heading on their checklists from “how you can do it” to “because He did it.” I’m not sure many Christians are doing it because they love Him, and want to get to know the One they love. I’m not sure many Christians have realized the dysfunction found in a relationship centered around giving to the Lover rather than loving the Giver.

When our purpose is to love the Giver, it makes it a lot easier to truly love everyone He gives to. Because along with giving life, He also gives His heart in exchange for ours – and His heart is one of love. And when He overtakes our old hearts with His, we become givers as well.

All because He gave, and we simply accepted.

THE THIN AIR – FOLLY

Hey all! This is a (poorly recorded) song I wrote about two weeks ago. It’s about the false pictures we’ve portrayed as Christians, and about the false definitions of Christianity we’ve shown the world through living a religion of legalism and acts rather than grace and mercy. I hope you like it – the lyrics are posted below the video.

Love is for lovers and men just the same

I’ll wait for your waiting and maybe I’l change

You show me your mercy I show you disdain

You seek recognition I long for the same

If patience is virtue and knowledge is gain

I’ll sit in my waiting and pray just the same

For this minute to hurry these blankets to fall

The inside to show me your knowledge of all

Chorus

I see your heart

It’s written on pages and given to all

I call for strength

Yet I deny the meaning I deny the fall

I deny the plan that is better than all

They say time to decide, I’ve shown you my soul

Is it heaven or hell is it sulfur or gold

This decision is bigger than riches or flames

Or good deeds or bad, it’s accepting His grace

Chorus

Your people are dirty Your people are stained

They look down believing their good deeds to save

Yet I can’t find those words in this book of it all

It simply says our deeds led to the fall

Chorus

Chorus 2

Please see my heart

Is it worthy of saving can grace cover all

Please take my pain

I’m dead to the world, alive to the grave

Please carry my burdens, please carry my shame

You fixed all my folly repaired all my shame

Put to death my subconscious gave life to my veins

I’m dead to the world, alive to the grave

Freed me from my burdens freed me from my shame

IT IS FINISHED.

I truly believe understanding exactly what Jesus did for us is something we, because of our sinful nature and selfishness, will never fully understand – especially among people who grew up in the church, because we’ve grown up singing songs about it, hearing the Easter story every year, and memorizing John 3:16.

“He gave His one and only son . . .”
I’ve come to believe that because of our own pride and knowledge, it’s hard for us not to become the Pharisee, believing we deserved what Christ did for us – believing we were good enough to earn it. In reality, however, it is only when we recognize ourselves as pitiful that we can truly see who Christ died for, and what He gave up to do so.

“In the beginning. . . “
God created. The first step in recognizing what Christ did for us is recognizing who He is: God. Jesus was and is fully God, and is the same God that created the world which He would later die for. It’s so easy to view Jesus as God’s son whom He sent just for the crucifixion and forget about Jesus’ presence before His life on earth, when in reality He has been here since the beginning. He saw the earth come into existence, and saw the people on it continually turn away from Him. He parted the Red Sea, yet watched as the Israelites worshiped other gods and abandoned the God who carried them through the wilderness. He did all these things before He even came to earth, yet we still couldn’t follow Him. We still abandoned Him for our own selfishness. He gave Solomon his wisdom, only to watch him indulge in his own desires. He had to continually watch as we abandoned His wisdom only to watch our own wisdom fail us over and over and over again.

“The wisdom of man . . . “
Is foolishness to God. No one knew this more than Jesus Christ, yet He came. He came to save every last one of us from our own foolishness, and in order to do so, He had to embrace – and even become –the flesh of our foolishness. He had to be fully us in every aspect. When we really compare our wisdom to God’s its like comparing us as humans to a goldfish. Jesus’ actions would basically be like one of us becoming a goldfish, dying so other goldfish might live – goldfish who, just earlier, completely abandoned you as their provider. It’s as if goldfish decided they could make their own food and clean their own water, rather than knowing those things come from you, and made the decision to wait for something else rather than let you provide the rest for them. If these goldfish, who are so much smaller than you, decided not to accept what you offer, the best, easiest solution would be to scrap it all. Flush the goldfish, and start new with something more appreciative.

Yet God didn’t take the rational path. In fact, He took the way that goes completely against our intuition – He decided to become one of us goldfish! He decided that he would rather become us and take the blame for all of us than do a clean sweep and start it all over.

Apparently, when we’re “in love,” we’re experiencing a chemical reaction in our brains that causes us to be insane because of our love. I think God gave us a perfect example of the science behind love when He decided to join us on this earth and take the blame for our slander, blasphemy, lust, murder greed, pride, and everything else.

Put in His situation, we would logically look at restarting everything, yet God decided to redeem. He chose to give us Rebirth. And even in His redemptive grace, He gives us the choice. Will it be ourselves, or Himself? Our eyes or His? It’s all our choice and I choose His.

*This was influenced largely by the Easter message given at Element Church in Cheyenne, WY, which can be found at http://www.elementweb.net/