Saturday, December 26, 2009

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Consumerism is rampant in society. I'm not just referring to the marketplace. The same ideology that drives the year end blow out sales, post black Friday, has crept into almost every aspect of our lives. Believing that our spiritual experience is just another commodity to bought or sold has obscured the drawing nature of the Holy Spirit.

God implores us to taste and see that He is good. Yet what He offers cannot be contained in shiny packages with red ribbons. It seeps into us like a refreshing drink that when drunk restores our spiritual vitality and a connection with our creator.

Jesus explains to His follower that His sheep hear His voice. It follows in this analogy of sheep and shepherd that we must be led by Christ. Consumerism is about control: control over what we take in, where we go and what we do. Ultimately however our walk with God is about giving up control.

Jesus once said to aggressive argumentative Pharisees "give to caesar what is caesar's and to God what is God's. Perhaps with the waning year we can rethink our commitment to consumerism.

Beneath the twinkling stars Jesus spoke words to the pondering Nicodemus. He said "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 Let the Spirit lead you, not to a sale, but to life everlasting

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Believing the Lie

It's so easy to do. After all how many times did I do something my parents told me to do without consequences? A lot. Of course there were all those times that I did something my parents told me not to do and there were consequences. Like forgetting my coat one too many times only to come down with a cold or not going to sleep when I should've to find out that life was a little harder the next day.

It takes us so many years to realize that are parents knew what they were talking about if we ever come to that conclusion at all. Unfortunately for those that believe our parents knew a thing or too there is an even smaller contingent that take God's word at face value.

Perhaps we put aside the gentle warnings and admonitions of God because the spiritual subtlety is lost on us. When we don't acquire a terminal illness or lose everything to a fire we somehow believe all that we do is condoned.

You see we don't miss what we don't even know exists and the devil is bent on keeping it that way. He feeds us the lie that what we do doesn't affect our relationship with God and that spiritual death is just the lack of warm fuzzy feelings when our favorite Christmas hymn is played.

The real sign that we're in trouble of course is that we don't care that we're in trouble. The real sign that we are spiritually dead is that we don't thirst for spiritual things. If we do anything we need to burst our own bubbles soon enough to realize that our ship is sinking and if we don't reject the lie our life preserver will be out of site.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Phantom Life

I've never really thought of myself as an apparition. But sometimes and sadly more often than it should ever be the case this is all that I am.

David declares "Surely every man awalks about as a phantom." Psalm 39:6

How can he make such a bold pronouncement and does this really apply to me? The word that David uses here for phantom is the Hebrew word tselem. In this context it means phantom, but this is not the first place that this word is used.

In Genesis 1:26 we find the first occurrence of this word when God says "Let Us make man in our "image." We were made to look like God, think like God and act like Him. We were made in His image. Unfortunately for most of us this means that we only have His form.

This is sort of like meeting a young man or woman that is the spitting image of their father or mother. Yet as you talk with this person it becomes quite obvious that they are nothing like their parents. Their perspective is different, their values are different and they are taking a very different path.In this way there is a physical resemblance but the resemblance is only skin deep.

The bible says in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God's character is goodness and righteousness. His defining act is the love revealed through His Son at the cross.

God's internal traits are inherently at odds with our nature. Thus David is correct in pronouncing the natural state of man: a phantom. Without surrendering to His saving grace we are naturally just distorted images of our father.