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Friday, July 8, 2011

.What I am so Desperate For.

Two heavy posts in two days. This is when I start losing readers and gaining heated emails. Here is my disclaimer - this post is not targeted at anybody but myself. It is okay to skip over this post. Sometimes I write to remember and sometimes I write to process. Today I am writing to process. I haven't come to any solid conclusions. I am wrestling in this right now.

Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

This is me. I continue to stand still - doing the things I hate. Seeking after possessions and things. Ignoring what God has called me to

This has been the me that I have been fighting against for over a year now.

My complacency was challenged a year ago through various godly authors of books heavily laden with Biblical counsel and Scripture passages. It's hard for me to deny the truth when it is matched with the Word of God. And these men did just that. My gut, my heart, my spirit knows that what they are saying is Truth from God's Word, and that it should be evoking me to unconditional surrender of everything. My faith, my life should be audacious - yes, even as just a stay-at-home mommy in this season of my life.


This truth is so, so counter culture, and not just North American culture, but what has really knocked the wind out of me is that it is probably just as counter {most} Christian North American culture.

Goodness, it is counter culture me. It is so counter culture me.

I am not anti-America. I am really not. But I am not pro-America either. I am thankful and grateful to have grown up in a country with so many freedoms - especially freedom to believe and worship the way I want to. I have a hard time being thankful for the wealth here in America, though. And truly I am filthy rich. I am the rich young ruler and all of the other rich characters that Jesus mentioned in the New Testament. Sometimes I wonder if this wealth here in our country is as much of a blessing as I have been taught it is. Sometimes I wonder if it is actually a curse. A curse keeping me chained to a life of complacency and eyes closed to the requirements of the gospel. It would be easier for me to obey without all of the stuff that distracts me - even good stuff.

I know what God is calling me to, but I am comfortable and safe and cozy. And why wouldn't God want that for me? Or so I used to think. But the truth is I have grown up isolated from the world - the whole world, and surrounded by cushions that completely deafen me to the screams of those dieing and going to hell. I wonder what would happen if my allegiance was entirely to God, His Son, and the spreading of His gospel? Would I look different than I do now? Would my life?

I want to hold my personal comfortableness lightly and be quick and ready to do whatever God calls me to do, to go wherever God calls me to go. My responsibility is to God alone. I do not answer to the church, to other believers, to my parents, or to friends.

But I haven't really made the plunge yet.

I have copped out over and over and said that my role is here in my home with my children - with my family, and that is true - but only partly. Simply because I am a believer I am called to be a disciple of Jesus. Yes, I am a mom, but overarching even that is the fact that I am called to be a disciple. This calling is not just for super Christians - missionaries, deacons, pastors - it is for me - a mom.

This calling is extremely precise and yes, radical.

Here are just a few examples of what God is calling me to as His disciple.

Matthew 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

1 John 2:4-6 If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.

I Corinthians 11:1 And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

Luke 14:25-35 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

My citizenship is not here - in America or anywhere on this earth. My citizenship is in heaven, yet I continue to live like it is here. I am just an average Jane, but I believe that this is my normal duty and only because I claim the name of Jesus.

I am desperate to be motivated by the gospel and not guilt.

I am desperate to live out what God is calling me to without fear of looking like a weirdo to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Sadly I am more concerned about this, as I am supposed to look like a weirdo to the unbelievers.

Someday I will stand before God and give an account. I am desperate for that to resonate and manifest itself in my life. I want to hear the Word and obey it - no questions asked. I want to be transformed by God's Word. I want to believe that God is superior to all of the stuff the world has to offer.

And yet here I sit. I am desperate for all of this, and yet I have not abandoned the comfortable. This is not a post looking for sympathy or platitudes. I don't want comments on how I am being hard on myself. I am not. Jesus sacrificed it all, and I am told to follow His example. I do not think I am being hard on myself at all. Yes, His grace is wonderful and beautiful and covers me, but I was still called to be His disciple.

I am not my own. I belong to Another. I am accountable to Him, and He is gracious and just.

I know that God promises abundant life in Him, but what if I have redefined abundant life here in our American culture? What if abundant life is sacrificing it all? What if that abundant life that Jesus was talking about is actually our eternal life - which is certainly abundant? What if abundant life is not about our time on earth, health, prosperity, possessions, happiness, family, or occupation?

What if the abundant life we were promised looks radically different?

I met a man in Ethiopia, Bisrat (Bizzy). We had the privilege of breaking bread with him along side our friends Jo and Steve. Bizzy is a modern day Paul. This man was in a monastery living a false religion for years. One day a stranger came and shared the gospel with him. Bizzy heard the truth and accepted it. Because of this he was tortured and beaten. He was tied to the top of a car, and he experienced things that I cannot fathom here in my sterile world. Bizzy was left for dead, but God spared his life and he survived. He is doing tremendous things for the sake of the gospel. He has nothing compared to what we have - literally nothing. But with sparkling brown eyes, he looked at us all sitting around that table and told us that he has it all because he has Jesus. He said that if everything was taken away from him - everything - he would still be rich.

And that is what I am so desperate for.



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