Monday, September 17, 2007
Where You At? Pt. 2
Many years ago my mother pulled a trick upon my brothers and me. While telling us that she would have homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting when we returned from school, she neglected to tell us that they wouldn’t be the usual deal.
Now, it’s a verified fact that my mother makes the best chocolate chip cookies in America. You in the rest of the world have yet to confirm that fact, but just because you haven’t had one doesn’t change a thing. We’re dealing with facts here. My mother doesn’t overload her delicacies with too much chocolate either, making you wonder if you’re eating a chocolate bar rather than a cookie. Hers are balanced just right, and have nuts in them. Why some people insist upon having nut-less chocolate chip cookies is beyond me. It’s wrong.
Anyway, in my rush to cram the delicacy into my mouth (and beat my brothers to it), I failed to recognize a foreign scent in the kitchen. “Ooh! These are goooood!” I mumbled. Pointing to the cookie in my mouth, I asked, “But what’s that other thing in there? What is that?” With a smirk on her face, she said, “Do you like the cookies?” “Yes!” we replied. “Well,” she said, “that’s orange rind. I shaved several oranges into the mix. How do you like it?” Shocked, we said, “Orange rind?! What?! You put that in these?!” But we had to admit the cookies were better than ever. It seemed like no matter what she put in there, it was all perfect.
Guess what I often think of when I have an orange in my hand? That’s right. Orange rind belongs in chocolate chip cookies—that’s where it’s perfect. Anywhere else, orange rind is just decoration. But in the right place it’s brilliant.
In my previous LifeNote, I wrote about where each orange-rindish Christian is located right now—in Christ. Apart from Him, there isn’t much to brag about. Yet, as Ephesians so often reads, in Him we’re incredibly fortunate—we’re prefect. I want to encourage you to accept God’s view of you and “where you’re at.” Satan, the world, and the flesh all work in harmony to see that you don’t. What happens when they’re successful is disastrous.
We’re most at risk when we see ourselves outside of Him, detached from Him and living on our own. It’s during those times when I’ve been listening to the wrong source of my identity that I begin to worry about “my walk”, worry about “my righteousness”, worry about “my holiness,” and begin fearing for “my life.” Practically speaking, I think of life as “Jesus over there,” and “me over here.” And I’m not enough—I’m orange rind! “What have I done that’s worth anything?” I might think, or, “I have made so many bad decisions—what hope do I have now?” Or perhaps, “I’m such an undeserving idiot! Why would God do anything for me?!”
See what’s happening? A foreign voice is attempting to seduce me away from the truth to a lie.
If successful, my hope is no longer with Jesus, having been secured by Him, in Him, but with me—apart from Him. Not only is that woefully insufficient, it’s a lie! And there’s no way I’ll be able to live well, since I’m all fouled up. When I’m deceived from the truth (“I’m in Christ, and in Him I have everything!”) by a lie (“Well, you’re such a mess that you’re on your own—Good luck, orange breath!”), I can’t help but be miserable. And I almost always act the same.
Why are you forever secure with God? Because Jesus secured you by bringing you into Himself. Why are you holy and blameless with God? Because Jesus brought you into Himself, making you that way. Nothing in Him could be anything but perfect. Why is every promise God has ever made “Yes” to you? Because, taking you into Himself, He has hidden your life in His, making what He deserves yours. Not only have you been changed from what you were before you were saved, you’ve been put somewhere different—into Christ. You’ve been utterly redeemed from your previous condition, as well as your previous location—on your own.
That’s how God sees it, and that’s how it is. Maybe it’s time to look again at where you’re at.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Eph 1:7,8)
(To help you remember “Where you at?” today, and because I like these ads, here’s another good one.)