“I wish i were like you, easily amused.”-Nirvana-“All Apologies”, from “In Utero”
“And all I really want is some patience
A way to calm the angry voice
And all I really want is deliverance
Do I wear you out
You must wonder why I’m relentless and all strung out
I’m consumed by the chill of solitary
I’m like Estella
I like to reel it in and then spit it out
I’m frustrated by your apathy
And I am frightened by the corrupted ways of this land…
Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines
Or when you think you’re gonna die
Or did you long for the next distraction
And all I need now is intellectual intercourse
A soul to dig the hole much deeper “-Alanis Morissette-“All I Really Want”, from “Jagged Little Pill”
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is mean by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” (CS Lewis, as quoted in Manning 139).
“Finding the treasure may be dumb luck-or grace. Claiming the treasure is a function of desire-the holy longing that won’t go away until I act with ruthless determination, sacrifice, an tenacious effort” (Manning 143).
“The apostle John did not believe Jesus was the most important thing; he believed Jesus was the One Thing”(Manning 149).
“If only the rules were
built upon philosophy that I embraced
I’d hug your neck and kiss your face,
but it’s very obvious
that your ideals are not for me.
You’ll tell me what to do
but you will see that I do as I please.”-“Nothing”-Pedro The Lion-from “Whole”
What is the Message? God is light, there is no darkness in Him-1 John 1:5.
How do we know that we are in Him? We keep His commandments-1 John 2:3.
What are His commandments? Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself-Mark 12:28-31.
How do we know that we are of the truth? We love in deed and truthfulness-1 John 3:18.
What is love? God sent His son to the world that we might have life and live in Him-1 John 4:9.
How has God loved us? He sent His Son as a sacrifice for us-1 John 4:12.
When did He do this? While we were yet sinners, because and despite them, regardless of our response-Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8.
How do we know that we abide, or live in him? We have His Spirit-1 John 4:13.
How do we know we have His Spirit? By our fruits, our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control-Galatians 5:16-25.
How is love perfected in us? We have boldness without fear on judgment day-1 John 4:17.
What is the love of God? Our keeping of His commandments, and that they are not burdensome-1 John 5:3.
Is it easy to not sin? If we were to take full adavatage of the working of the Spirit, and according to the resurrected Christ, yes-Matthew 11:30.
What victory do we have? Our faith-1 John 5:4.
Matthew 16:26-What good is it for us to gain the world (to drive nice cars, live in nice homes, be friends with nice people, live lives that are free of danger, illness, tragedy, to be free of hardship, financial ruin, Republicans in the White House, $0.98 gas) and lack salvation for our souls?
“eventually all of this must become zeros and ones everything, everywhere, everyone, zeros and ones”-“Zeros and Ones”-Derek Webb, from “Mockingbird”
“Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if everything were meaningless
But everything is so meaningful
And most everything turns to dung. Rejoice”-“Rejoice”-Pedro The Lion, from “Control”
Heavy, heavy, heavy.
What are we about? Most of us, if not all of us, have had the gospel proclaimed to us. And each of us have responded to it. Some of us have hard hearts; we’re “easily amused.” Others of us hear it, and place God into the midst of our priorites; Christ is the most important thing (like the character in the song “whole” above, we’ll do it our way-we’re good people, we have not killed anyone, we have the proper political opinions, and we go to church on Easter), rather than the One Thing, the ONLY THING that really is of any consequence. Finally, some of us will be captivated by Christ. He will fuel our desire, we will be about HIS business. Like the words of the hymn, we’ stare into His eyes, the light of Christ, and this world will become “strangely dim”-it just won’t matter, and we’ll bear fruit.
Some of us desparately cling to the faith of our youth, or to the coat-tails of our fathers. We hope that our works, or lack of “real sin” will get us in. Rather than our motivation being love, we hope to curry favor with God by doing good. We have not set aside karma for grace, we have just claimed karma as our own-“sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell”. If I “do” good, I get “good” in return. And because I am “getting good” (at least what this world considers good), I must be doing good. Never mind that the rain falls on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), or that the tower that fell on the people in Siloam weren’t any worse sinners than anyone else (Luke 13:4).
As I said, most of us have heard the gospel. And each of us must respond by either embracing it, or rejecting it. And an embrace of this gospel is more than an intellectual and verbal assent. It requires more than “going swimming.”
Here are 2 heavy verses that, well, scare the you know what out of me, and should cause everyone who even remotely believes.
Matthew 7:21-23- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”
Jesus uses the word never. I do not like the finality if that word. Could it be possible that all of my laboring for Him is vanity? Am I truly sold out for Him?
2 Peter 2:20-22-“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
It would be better for us to never have heard the gospel, than to pretend to follow it.