Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"let us fix our eyes on Jesus"

All right, with the assurance that the hiding-under-the-blanket-because-I-wasn't-wearing-pants post is coming--I really am not very good at writing blogs when I've got other things on my mind, and I just haven't sat down to do it clear-minded yet--here comes the processing.

The thing is, I am sad. For a friend of mine, because of the ways that none of us do anything anywhere close to perfectly, and because sometimes things just don't go down very well. I know that being obedient to God is foremost, and that he doesn't promise that that won't be hard, only that his will is to be done, and that it is infinitely better than any plans or even hopes of our own. The problem is that sin gets in the way of everything. Our own and everyone else's. It's hard for me to logic this out, because on the one hand I know we are free from sin, we are no longer bound by it. But that doesn't mean that I don't find myself reaching back for it every day. And it is messy. Even in submission and obedience to God, sin's still hanging out making a mess of everything. It's ruining relationships, growing up bitterness, and mostly, even in the good we try to do--even the good that doesn't feel good or look good or seem good to all involved--it's there pointing us in every direction we could go except toward God.

How do you point to scripture and say, this is how God would have it, this is what he says to do when you yourself don't live up to it? Accepting that none of us do, and that whatever standard or hope there is lies in Christ, how could we shrug off our own sin by pointing at the sin of others? Isn't the whole point that none of us are good or are worthy on our own, and that we are fully and desperately in need of God? Of course I am not good, of course I screw up, and the same is true of every person, and I don't claim anything otherwise. If we duck out that way though, we miss out on the whole point of the need for salvation.

I was thinking earlier about how before I'd sometimes have a hard time relating to the Christ part of the trinity, which really makes no sense since it's so vital. But I never really felt convicted of how much I needed him. I was thankful, certainly, as much as I suppose you could be without really understanding. But I always thought I was a pretty okay person, and while I can get mean, I was doing all right, and was growing, which was important. I never really realized the weight of sin and how badly it can screw things up and how, that one time I got really drunk and threw up everywhere or the other day when I lied to my teacher, those things on their own would keep separated from God forever if not for Christ. How desperate a situation I am in without my God.

If my heart breaks for my friend--and it does--it doesn't do it without first realizing how badly I fail to measure up. Being sinful and imperfect doesn't keep us from being able to help one another, to point each other back toward Christ. I feel like that's the whole point of relationships, in the end. And when we point everywhere else, at everyone else and gather to ourselves every little thing, hold it all in until there's nothing but bitterness and anger and lashing out, then we miss the entire point of the Gospel. We should be looking to Christ, and pointing one another there too, or else we are completely swept away by sin and all the hurt and mess it causes. Don't look at me or other people, or even the people you think are good, because if you base your faith in Christ on the people who follow him, you'll end up empty handed.

Right now I am sad and frustrated because I'm feeling pretty much like there is nothing I can do, and of course there isn't, but it's hard. If the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, then I realize that unjust anger and bitterness are not of God. And I also realize that it's me screwing all that up as much as anyone else. And the whole point is that none of us can plug up his ears, and there is nothing edifying about pointing at one another--you see? We are to be pointing each other toward God, looking toward him ourselves, even if we do that badly and in the midst of sin, and there's no getting around the fact that that's how it will go.

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."Heb. 12:15

And "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."Heb. 12:1-2

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