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10 November 2008

Am I Fat and Happy?

Rather than trying to do a catchy, real-life-relating-to-spiritual-life story, I think I'll just talk about what's going on in my noggin lately. It's not all that uplifting of a post, to be honest. I pray (literally -- I'm not just using a religious phrase) that you will be motivated as I share what's been motivating me. I'm afraid it'll be a little offensive, but I'm not throwing stones, I promise.

I've observed that not everyone in the typical church fellowship takes his walk with Christ really seriously. That's shocking, of course, and I've probably just given a big eye-opener to all of you with that statement. You're welcome. But I've also learned that I can't push people into some life-changing Holy Spirit epiphany that calls them to (or back to) an intimate walk with Christ. And I really can't push a group of 500+ people that way. The Holy Spirit Himself has to draw them. And they have to make the choice to follow that direction ("repent"). God uses His people to this end, for sure. He's been using His Word to really get to me lately.

As I've gone through Christmas music to prepare for our choir (and to prepare our choir for it), I have a few images that keep going through my mind.

I can imagine us singing, "Glory to the newborn King!" in a well-decorated, heated sanctuary that has plumbing, bathrooms, [arguably] comfy seating, good-smelling people, water fountains, girly funeral home furniture, etc. (No, I don't go around smelling people.) And this is all rather easy to imagine, because we do it every year. That's image number one.

And then I picture a non-seasonal service at which we sing things like, "How great is our God," and hear sermons that say something like, "We need to be living for Christ on a daily basis," and in return those statements are given a hearty, and sometimes half-hearted, "Amen!"

Finally, I picture us, proverbially fat and happy, going home and doing very few Godly things. At least, I picture myself this way. We usually don't feel particularly convicted to help others willy-nilly -- that's not where God may be directing us. We often wait until He "convicts" us to do something. And in the meantime, He mercifully convicts us to watch TV, surf the internet, write blog posts, and things like that. (That idea is courtesy of Francis Chan in Crazy Love -- can't take credit for it.)

Of course I'm not condemning these things. They're good! God has blessed us in a huge way with physical things, with loving people and great relationships. I'm not at all suggesting that we should feel guilty for enjoying these blessings. But when these things are used at the expense of actively living in the fullness of God's will, they're simply not good. At that point we'll have taken a great gift and begun to regularly use it for our own gratification.

A couple of questions that I've found to be very revealing in my own life:

1) What am I doing today that requires faith?

2) How have I been directly living out what the Scriptures say a Christ-follower will do as a result of deep love for Christ and for people?


Tony M said...

Very, very true. I especially like the line about "[meanwhile], He mercifully convicts us to watch TV, surf the internet, write blog posts..."

I've actually been thinking this same thing recently, just pushing it off for later. :( Thanks for the reminder.

But it's correct: these things in themselves are not bad. It's when, like you said, they get in the way of our relationship with God and living for Him instead of ourselves that they can become interferential (think I made up a word there; hopefully you know what I mean).

And it's easy to point out in the lives of others (speaking directly to myself here); the real question is, can I recognize it in my own life and (assuming I do) what will I do about it?

Jan said...

dean, you wanna talk about a mission trip to train and encourage worship leaders in countries where they have nothing at all.......? that's what i'm thinking and praying about.

Christy said...

Thought provoking post, Dean. I wish I were as articulate as you.

Anonymous said...

Keep it coming, great stuff.


Dean Lusk said...

Thanks, all, and thanks for the e-mails, too.

Jan, yes. I'm very interested in that kind of a mission trip.

There's some weird synergy going on with me lately between these books: the Bible (upon which all is based), "Not the Religious Type," "Crazy Love," and "Tribes." All of them seem to again be pointing me to the same thing that a card from Christy to me and my wife said a long time ago (something I've never forgotten), "Attempt something so big that it's doomed to failure unless God is in it." (or something like that...)

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