Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scribble and Scrambles - Convicted

I think I'm borderline complacent. Not quite apathetic because my complacency bothers me, but sometimes I think I wouldn't mind sitting this round out, or a few rounds, or maybe even all of the future rounds.

But, like God is prone to do, He's been delivering sermons to convict me.

The theme of late seems to be, in so many words, "do I care if people find Jesus?"

This is a tough one. Of course I care. I love my friends and family. I don't want anyone to choose death over life. I care about strangers and acquaintances, about patients and check-out girls. I've been conditioned to believe that all people have the evidence and experience they need to find Jesus, and that I don't necessarily need to provide any more. That if I get too vocal I'll just do more harm than good. That if I just live my life and answer questions that might be asked of me, this is enough.

But is that true?

I'm not a preacher, but I'm an ambassador. I'm not a theologian, but I carry truth within me. I want to leak that truth, but I don't want to hurt or judge people.

Can I tell you why Jesus means more than the world to me? If you don't want to keep reading, don't. I'm not going to preach regularly. And as far as I know I'm talking to the choir. (Those who agree with me and know Him, too.) But maybe I need to write this in case someone stumbles into this post and needs to "hear" what I have to say.

I believe in Jesus, I love Jesus, I've given my life to Him because I have seen and still see His power at work in my life. I know people quibble about His "Godness." Most will claim that He was a good man, a good teacher, a good example. Some will think that He was secretly married, or didn't actually die, or didn't come back from the grave. Lots think He sinned like any body else but the good outweighed the bad and that we should "do unto others as we would have them do unto us" and live like we are at least trying to reach for His example.

I know lots of people accept God and label all belief as toward one big God with many names. But loads of people have trouble with the narrowness of teaching that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

I love C.S. Lewis' comments. (my paraphrase, not a quote) Jesus is either Lord, a liar or a lunatic. Jesus claimed to be God which is the major reason He was crucified. He spoke "blasphemy" by claiming to be "I AM", the eternal, powerful and unspeakable God of Genesis. Lewis' point -- since Jesus made this claim, more than once, He put a hot potato in our hands. He either is who He says He is, or He is a liar. If He was a liar He can't be a moral and good teacher. And if He wasn't lying, but actually believed He was, but isn't, then He was insane. Lewis said equal to a person who claimed to be a poached egg. If Jesus is not a liar or a crazy man, then that means He is who He claimed to be.

Faced with this question and having read and considered I made my choice.
My life has several chapters where Jesus was a distant God. One I knew on the surface. But when things got rough and painful, I began to struggle with such a shallow belief. As I dug He confronted those shallow beliefs with the truth. I couldn't deny that He loved me. Nor could I deny that He was calling me, or would enable me to become a person that I'd always wanted to be.
When my life was lived to get what I thought I needed but realized it was only what I wanted, I didn't want to meet my own eyes in the mirror. Hedonism was a lonely place full of noise and artificial light because the quiet and shadows brought introspection and fear.
When I found myself at the end of Kelly's best effort, broken, bleeding and miserable, I looked up and I gave up. My life was a royal mess and I didn't want it any more so I gave it to Jesus.
Ten years later, I am astounded at the changes in my life. Don't get me wrong, God has asked me to undergo some serious soul surgery. The process and His love have changed my life.
When I look back at the direction I was heading, I shudder. My children. Where would they be? What would their lives look like? Probably a lot like the miserable one I was living. After all, kids learn by example.
I'd be divorced, that's a given.
What would I have missed? A living breathing relationship with a flesh and blood God. Seeing my children follow Him and bloom into role models and human beings as they were created to be, beautiful and in the image of God. I'd have missed hours praying and talking with a man who's heart beats with mine, a man who has truly become my soul-mate. I'd have missed the struggles that have made me capable of being alone with my thoughts and at peace with people who've hurt me. I know where I'll be in eternity, I feel it my very core.
All because I believe Jesus is who He says He is, and I've anchored my future, present and past on Him.