21 August, 2013

Gratefully Cocky

This is the first chance I've had to sit and do this for some time now. I really want to finish hashing out the depth of the parable of the sower in Mark 4, but this something new the Lord has been dealing with me about this week and I want to share it with those of you in internet-land.

It is fun how the Holy spirit opens our eyes to biblical revelation in non-Biblical ways. I have been struggling with my mind-set recently - especially in regards to my actual mind. I don't do enough critical thinking any more. I have been cranky. I have felt empty. My brain has felt dull. And I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy uselessness. Being a stay-at-home dad will do that to ya. It can bring your entire countenance down. It caused my prayer-life to fade. That'll mess with your mind-set all the more.


That is sooooo vital to a successful Christian life. I have asked the Lord to help me with mine: to sharpen my mind, to give me greater understanding of Who He is and what He has done, to give me comprehension of the love He has for me and how it is already at work in me for the sake of other people. Oddly enough, the light clicked on today... while reading about the Seattle Seahawks.

If you don't feel like reading that very long article, here is the jist: the Seahawks have begun placing a huge emphasis on positive thinking and meditation as a part of their core values. Football has historically been a sport rooted in yelling, screaming, show-no-emotion, suck-it-up toughness. That has changed over at the V-MAC. Reading the article open my eyes to something...

Everything they do over there is Biblical!

"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he..." ~Proverbs 23:7a

How you think about yourself will ultimately determine your course. The problem many Christians have is that we continue to place too high an emphasis on what we can do. This is the very opposite of grace. We have God's grace (His unmerited unearned favor) in our lives because of what Jesus did for us. However, we still try to "do it" on our own. I know for me, this has played entirely too true in recent months. I try to do enough housework to feel worthy of my wife. I try to do enough playtime to feel worthy of my son. And I unfortunately still try to do enough spiritual stuff to feel worthy of God. It is the "do good, get good" mentality. And it needs to stop.

Works theology must be removed from our thinking. Ephesians 2:10 says that God has good works for us to do. It doesn't say we have good works we need to do or else we are bad Christians who were never really saved in the first place. Jesus did something amazing for us, so that we could have an amazing life. He thinks very highly of each and every one of us. Our merit, our work, means nothing to God. Jesus blood is the key to our success in this life. Our job is not to work to make our lives better. Our job is to find out what God wants us to do, and then to do it to the best of our ability (Ephesians 6:7) - and our ability has already been enhanced by the Holy Spirit working within us. We must realize this.

The Holy spirit has been constantly bringing this to my attention: do not lean on the arm of the flesh. Stop trying to appease God with what you do. Stop assuming that if you do not "do enough" in any arena of your life that God will not move on your behalf. Find out what He wants you to do, and then do it. If your parents disagree, too bad. If your teachers says otherwise, don't listen. If your pastor preaches differently from the pulpit, ignore him for two minutes. Grace has got you covered.

So, why did I title this "Gratefully Cocky"? That's the term that dropped into my head this morning. I stopped reading the article, I put my son down for a nap, and I did what the Seahawks do. I sat down and pondered the Word of the Lord. It is difficult in our day and age to think highly of oneself without a laundry-list of accomplishments to back it up. That's because we place too much emphasis on our works. But Jesus thinks otherwise. According to Jesus, I'm a pretty big deal. I'm His favorite. I'm his brother (Romans 8:17). In Christ, I can do anything (Philippians 4:13). In Christ, I am love (1John 4:7). I am successful in every endeavor because of Jesus. That will make you cocky.

Without Jesus, I am a disaster. With Jesus, I am unconquerable. Satan will throw any and everything my way. Same holds true to you. But, unlike too many Christians, I will never blame God for the tests and trials in my life. With His ability upon my ability, I am going to blow them away - one-by-one. This is thinking highly of myself, because Jesus thinks highly of me, and because He has already placed His Spirit in me to accomplish these things. I just haven't given him enough time to show that to me. So from now on, I am going to spend more time turning things off around here, and listening and meditating on the voice of the Spirit within me. Scripture says God loves me and sings over me and thinks incredibly high of me - regardless of what I do or do not do. I'm a big deal around here, because He made me a big deal. I suggest you do the same. Don't sit and listen to the Word, then immediately run off and continue with life. That's where we lose so much of what God is saying to us. Slow down, ponder His Words. Let what He says about you truly soak in. And you'll realize that, because of Jesus, you're a pretty big deal, too.

For now, though, the next step is getting everybody on the meditation bandwagon. "Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice," [Russell] Okung says. "It's about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn't matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can't do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them and change them."

2Corinthians 10:5, anyone??