Thursday, January 19, 2012

We were made to be Courageous, or something to that tune.

its real fun people watching, if you haven't tried it you should. Next time you go to dinner just take 5 mins and observe the people around you, you'll learn alot about the human nature as well as get a good laugh! I would say that I have probably learned more from observation and listening in college than I have EVER learned from lectures or books. One thing Ive observed about our society (myself included) is that we don't know how to respond to really serious situations. It is like they make us so uncomfortable, we have to over compensate to counter act how uncomfortable we are- which in turn then makes things MORE awkward.

For example, today in my class our teacher asks us to do a brain mapping activity (which in my mind I'm sayin' I did this in the 4th grade) where he asked us to draw a circle and write the purpose of my life and then write as many of those purposes down. Then he asked us to flip the paper over and write the same thing but he had a contingency, before we could make another list he told us a story-long story short, we find out we have brain cancer and have 7 days to live- now we can write our list.....the list changes real fast for most people after that and the sound in the room is completely gone! After that we are supposed to rank each list from 1-10 of most important to least, then he asks to rank the lists again by whether each item on our list benefits us or someone else. After that, he asks us what we guy speaks up and says in a joking manner- I'm really selfish. This is the moment where there is a shift in the room happens. Everyone kind of giggles and then I heard whispers all over the room, people saying things like this is a waist of time; I thought this was this management; blah. blah blah. It's the moment in all of us where no one knows how to react but everyone feels the gravity of the moment. Believer or not, every one knows that if they only had 7 days to live, alot of things on their priorities list would change in an instant, and knowing that it gets people thinking "what is in my life now that shouldn't be/doesn't really matter" and its natural for us to want to make a joke or change the subject or be cutting just to relieve the pressure. OUR nature tells us to reject the serious and embrace the moment. OUR society tell us that pain, suffering, and death are subjects that are taboo and we do not talk about them. OUR brain tells us to avoid at all cost anything that might resemble the end because somehow if it is out of sight it is out of mind. OUR spirits tell us to fear the unimaginable or else we have to accept that bad things really happen....

See what I mean when I say I learn more by people watching? I didnt learn a thing about management today, but many of my classmates were forced to observe the inner workings of their soul and what was truely important. And what did I learn? how as humans we REALLY can't handle the truth. (hahaha-catch he pun?)
Even as believers, we do the same thing. Granted this is me speaking from a time in my life that comes from little life experience and I have seen some believers that this doesnt apply to hardly ever because they truely trust the Lord, however, for the rest of us- we are equally uncomfortable in these moments...

Like two nights ago I am watching Courageous with friends, and granted it is super cheesy, but at the same time it does a semi decent job of portraying what our walk with God typically looks like-hard and confusing but worth it. But throughout the movie I can't help but want to make jokes or sarcastic comments to ease the awkward moments, but why were they awkward for me in the first place? Why is it awkward for me to watch a father grieve? Why is it awkward to watch friends step up and be friends of accountability and integrity? Why is it awkward to watch men being men? I am a believer, these are truths I know, they are simple and basic. A father looses his daughter and we know he is sad and will cry but I don't want to see it. I know that friends in Christ speak in spirit and in truth to each other and encourage them to live above reproach as we are called to. So what is it in me that wants to laugh it off to past the moment?

I believe it is because we still live in OURselves.... because Christ's self is different.

Christ values our brokenness, our grief, our inability to truely to relieve these pressures becuase he knows all these factors force us to rely on him and trust that he makes things whole... 1 Corinthians 15: 43-44 "Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies."

Christ's nature embodies life in its entirety!
~ John 6: 63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Christ tells us suffering and pain are promised in this life and our part of the walk, but that he will NEVER leave us alone, he has won our battle and he will walk with us through adversity
~ Isaiah 30: 20-21 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. .

Christ's truth tells us the End holds a new life, a new home, a new intimacy with him and we can find Joy in this truth!
~Phillipians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Christ's spirit is not one of fear, but one of clarity and one that has hope for the glorious day when all fear, sadness, and harm will be wiped away.
~ Romans 8:15-16 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father." For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

These are Christ's characteristics and its the qualities we are promised to made to be like. to live in this manner is like my brain saying to my heart I don't need you, I can do this on my own- your fired! It makes NO SENSE to us. But we were made for more...we were made to be courageous! Can you imagine living in a world where men cry openly because they are sad and no one would feel the need to mask it or laugh it off because its awkward-because it wouldn't be awkward? Can you imagine a world with no slander, cursing, gossip because our hearts desire is to sincerely, fully honor God? Our minds and hearts tell us just the sound of this kind of world is laughable because hard things are awkward. But Christ has called us to more, he has called us to be COURAGEOUS, and to take back the fight! We were made for more and we have been given every resource under Christ to do so...Sit on that one for a while.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Lord, remind me that my days here are numbered, that every moment is a moment that Your name will be glorified with or without me. My soul longs to see your kingdom come, your will be done on earth and in heaven. Lord, remind me in the moments that my nature tries to take over, when the awkwardness tries to override the serious that you are soverign and you are good and you will make me more like you and less like me. Lord Remind me of who I am and who I am called to be.
~Psalm 39:4 & 5
LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
      Remind me that my days are numbered—
      how fleeting my life is.
 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
      My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
      at best, each of us is but a breath.”

(personally I wish I could watch peoples reactions as they read this, just to see what everyones face looks like while reading this-whether they grunt or snicker- whether they smile or frown- or if anyone takes note that i seem to use the same scripture alot.)

A Lesson from John

 John 8: 1-11  Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Where are the accusers? Where are they? Can they condemn you now? No? Neither will I.

Why isn't this our response to people in the midst of their sins? Hmm here's a thought, Jesus was perfect- he had every reason to be judgmental, we are sinful- we have every reason to be empathetic (been-there-done-that, got the postcard). So the person who had every right to be judgmental is gracious, and we who have every reason to be understanding are unforgiving. Why are we the accusers? What makes us think we have the right to expose someone else's sin when we have all been the cold, dirty, naked, mortified woman in the street facing destitution and certain death that were mercifully spared?

Romans 3: 23-24  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

OH MY, what more glorious hope do we have than that?! We are all unworthy and sinful-YET we have been called righteous! I have a friend that is one of the most interesting and honest persons I've met and she was telling me about her adulterous woman and accusers experience with one of the communities she was in. She told me about the hurtful things these people, that are believers, were doing and saying. She was so incredibly honest with them about her struggle with homosexuality and they dragged her out in the street, they ridiculed her, exposed her, and were ready to throw rocks at her. She told me of the hurtful, condescending things they said and did- and I was fuming! "Oh, so you're blameless-- go ahead, throw it then" I thought. As she told me how she felt like she couldn't be herself anymore in christian communities, I wanted to have these people hung! THAT is not at all a reflection of Christ, granted sin is nothing to be proud of and we are called out of darkness but we have no reason to treat each other that way. No sin is acceptable, but no sin has gone unpaid for...and I am not exempt from this truth either. It hit me (about mid rant) that I wasn't just casting stones- I was CATAPULTING BOULDERS!


James 4: 11-12 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

What's my job? TO OBEY! My job is to let the Lord be sovereign and to handle these things. I have to be honest and say there are times when I hate this truth and my responsibility in it. I don't want to obey and I definitely don't want to let these people walk away continuing to do the same hurtful things. I want to speak evil of the evil, I want to bring justice to the poor and weak, I want to be Jesus.

You know there is a part of this story I find to be interesting and really important and its only part of a sentence. It's so small I think there is a reason we miss it a lot but I know there is a reason it is there too...vs 9, look at it again. See it? It's not the beginning, It's not the end, it isn't the part about Jesus writing in the sand, (which in my opinion, we sometimes tend to focus way more on what he might have written vs the entire account that was written down) it's the middle. "Beginning with the oldest" 

I think that is so subtle but I know its there for a purpose, God didn't have to have to slip that in, the story would've been great without it. Here's my thought, I think God is giving us a tiny, baby, molecule size hint of how the maturing process works. I am 23 years old, my experience includes high school, 5 years of college, and summer camps, but one thing I have noticed (and is really obvious and doesn't need to be said) is that as I get older I become more and more aware of my own sin and more and more open to Christ leading me far, far away from them. Clearly the whole story is one example of our humanness. It's also an example of our failure to realize when we are in the presence of holiness because we have our own objectives; while simultaneously being a story of Christ's grace and his ability to take the focus off us and on to Him and his glory. So, in my immaturity, I think I can be God by being the supreme judge when really I can't AND that is not the example that Christ has set at ALL.He has set the example of what humble obedience looks like (and it's obvi that his method is MUCH more effective)

[Side note- when did I forget that I AM THIS WOMAN! I am sooooo sinful, I have been the one exposed and embarrassed and GUILTY. I am the woman who has stolen away the love of someone else's husband, I am the one who has betrayed my betrothed- who has proven myself untrustworthy, who seeks love in the wrong places. I am the one who disregards all the truths I know. I AM the one dirty from the inside out. I am nothing like the Great I AM...]

Moral of the story, God is good, Brittany is not. Ha ha, not really. Well Yes, that is true, but not the point. Here is the point...

 Hebrews 10:22-26 "Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."

Psalm 9:9-10 "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
   a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
   for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."

Jesus doesn't need me to defend the weak, he doesn't need me to judge the evil. He is our refuge from each other and from ourselves and He can be trusted. Short and sweet. He has promised to be our defender, our representative, our honor and justice, our freedom, our promise of redemption and completion.He is my friend's voice, and I must go into his presence with a sincere heart fully trusting that he will speak truth in her life that will commit her ways, that he will speak truth in the people's lives who persecute her, and he will speak truth into my life that shed's light on MY darkness. My desire to be God is COMPLETELY misguided and sinful. God is not looking to fill his position. I am not needed for that, but I do know that I am wanted by him. Wanted enough to die for. Wanted enough for God to share his truth with. Wanted enough that I have been promised all my heart's desires. Wanted enough to be forgiven every time I pick up a stone. And I am just as wanted as the people I persecute...

Ouch. This is where I put my brick down and walk away; where I follow the ones that are wiser than I...

Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said.  And Jesus said, Neither do I. Go and sin no more...”