Tuesday, April 13, 2010

decisions, decisions, decisions.

A while back I heard a fantastic sermon. It was about making a decision for Christ. Most when they read that, think of the decision to initially receive Christ as saviour. Hey, that decision is just the first step. It is just the first decision for Christ. Every day we are making decisions for Christ. (Actually, we are more often making decisions against Christ.) Most of us, if we have a rare moment of honesty, should admit that we are just in this Jesus thing for what we can get out of it. We accept Him as savior and we get our fire insurance. If we do the Jesus-is-Lord bit, it usually means we try not to do obviously bad things, to keep ourselves socially acceptable. It is not to earn salvation but to show that Jesus is our Lord.

The big question for believers: What’s in it for me?

We know what we’re supposed to do, but does it really matter? We’re saved by grace and it is not obvious what’s in it for us. How much more can there be?

Don’t go overboard with prayer, going to church, worshiping, reading the Bible. There are other things to do and those things aren’t bad. It is alright if my closest friends are not Christians. It is alright to do stuff as long as it isn’t forbidden. Why not? What’s in it for me if I do otherwise?

When I ask, “What’s in it for me?” and then can’t think of much of a pay off, then I am deciding against Christ.

I have spent most of the last 25-plus years being surprised that there is more. There is something in it for me but I didn't realize it beforehand. Even more surprised when I discover God wants to give more to me. I never could imagine that beforehand. Maybe I saw in Scripture that others had more. What exactly, I didn’t really understand, at least not until God gave it to me as well.

I never really got it. I never really got just how generous and loving our God is.

God is always offering me more but I always have to give up something. It is not a payment or a transaction with God. No, it is just the reality of making a choice. If you choose one thing then there was something you didn’t choose. You had to give it up. If it wasn’t that way it wouldn’t be a choice.

The funny thing is, I seldom know ahead of time what it is that I am actually getting. I have a much better understanding of what I'm giving up. You don't have to be an economist to see this might bias the choices that I make. That is why I must trust God and then be surprised.

I used to try to manipulate God to get stuff from him but found that didn’t work. As if God didn’t really want to bless me? I used to strive to put myself in a position to receive. I thought if I did stuff right I’d receive since I’ve got God’s promises. I'd have God on the hook. After all, He has to keep his promises doesn't He?

That was dumb.

Actually I still catch myself trying to manipulate God. Double dumb. You'd think I'd learn to trust God more by now.

God wants me. All of me. If I give Him a little more then I find out there is more to have, so I give more after which I find there is more to have so I give up more…. I’m not complaining. I always get a good deal. It’s like doing a straight trade of a 1986 K-car for a 2010 BMW.

No part of my life is really mine anymore. Now I find I can’t really do anything. I need to abide in Christ, rest in His strength. I have no option but to let him do all the work. I’m just a branch resting in His vine. I just need to be obedient, constantly make a decision for him and remember his presence abiding in me. The joke is that I can’t even do that unless He enables me. I can’t do anything to make it happen but I can make it stop. Go figure.

Looking back over what I wrote, it seems this may sound to some as if, well, ah, as if it kinda of sucks.

Actually it is really good. It is really peaceful and really liberating. God is good. Being with God is good. Anything else is a bonus. I think I am starting to get a very tiny glimpse of what the Christian-thing is supposed to be. It is good. I didn’t really choose it, but I did make a series of less-than-totally consistent decisions for Christ.

If I were smart, I'd be much more consistent in making decisions for Christ.

Be blessed.

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