Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Stinking Bag of Maggots

It's a Friday night as I write this and I am sitting in the house all alone. No television. Only the lovely high-pitched sounds of tinnitus ringing in my aging ears. Other than that, all's quiet.

I didn't have a very good day at work on Thursday. Nothing to do with work. It had everything to do with my faith. Nothing really changed regarding God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The change was within me.

Ones realization of brokenness can, and should be, very humbling. Recognizing my depravity at a new level had a very sobering effect on me that day as I came to realize that I have been failing my God and King . . . in my opinion.

Perhaps "failing" is too hard a word, but that's what it felt like to me. It's probably more like I wasn't committing myself enough. I wasn't living my faith enough. I wasn't giving everything I could give to my God in terms of my attention, my worship, my love. He wants my everything and I was holding it back.

So I have decided not to hold back any more. There are some who will say, "Gee Bob, you are already over the top with this religion thing." To them I would simply reply, "No. I haven't come close to serving enough, to loving enough, reading enough or worshiping enough, to praying enough. I am beginning to understand Martin Luther when he referred to himself as a  . . . well, I'll let you read it.

“The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone . . . . How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?”

Yeah, that's me. A bag of maggots.

So, what am I going to do about it?

First, I am going to think of myself less. John the Baptist had that one figured out.

"30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” - John 3:30-36

Second, God must always be in my thoughts and deeds. Every minute of every hour. Every thought . . . His.

" . . . and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." - 2 Corinthians 10:5

EVERY thought!

That's a tall order. My mind tends to wander all over the place. Sinful thoughts often slip in through some hidden trap door someplace. Just as quickly I try to sweep them out but it bothers me that they found their way into my mind in the first place. I need some caulk to seal up the cracks!!

Third, I must improve my worship. This goes beyond attending Sunday services, although I need to change that too. I need to be more devoted to God in my service of others. Reach out to the hurting, mourn with those who mourn, love the unlovable, and act like I am actually a disciple of Christ!

For example, a few days ago I reached out to someone on Facebook. I don't do that TOO often but today I did and I got this back. "Feels nice to know someone actual cares." I need to do that more. I need to be more open to being used.

Today I told someone at work that I loved them. Sounds pretty risky to the average church elder - a married man telling another woman he loves her. But guess what, I have told several women (not my wife) that I love them (agape). My sister, my mother, my daughter, but also several other close friends. And I've told several men that I love them too. Never got punched once. Hey, guess what. We Christians are supposed to love one another!! We should do it!!

Fourth, I need to examine my life, compare it to Jesus, and repair the parts of it that fall short. Too many to list here.

"5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" - 2 Corinthians 13:5

We as Christians are to become more and more like Jesus as we walk through this world. Each step in that direction, at least for me, comes with a heavy dose of humility and self-judgement. But in the end, if we keep changing and becoming more like Jesus, perhaps the world will come to know us for who we are, and WHOSE we are - disciples of Jesus Christ.

"Let it be said of us that our hearts belong to Jesus." - John Waller

The  Blessing - John Waller

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