Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Where You At? Part 2
Many years ago my mother pulled a trick on 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, until her passing about a year ago, my mother made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. (Those who protest obviously failed to have one, and are not part of the verification process—ignorance makes a mess of surveys. We’re dealing with facts here.) My mother didn’t overload her delicacies with too much chocolate either, making you wonder if you’re eating a chocolate bar rather than a cookie. Hers were balanced just right, and had nuts in them. Why some people insist on having nut-less chocolate chip cookies is beyond me. It’s wrong. I'm right about that. My mother would back me up, so don't argue with me.
Anyway, in my rush to cram the delicacy into my mouth, 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!” I replied. “Well,” she said, “that’s orange rind. I shaved several oranges into the mix. How do you like it?” Shocked, I said, “Orange rind?! What?! You put that in these?!” But I had to admit the cookies were better than ever. Orange rind.
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, and orange rind is just decoration. But in the right place it’s brilliant.
In my previous LifeNote, I wrote about where each Christian is located right now—in Christ. Apart from Him, there isn’t much to brag about. Yet, as the book of 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.” The adversary, Satan, virtually everything in the world, and the flesh all work in harmony to see that you don’t believe Him. When that happens it’s disastrous.
We’re most at risk when we see ourselves outside of Christ, 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. It’s telling me that I'm not in Christ. It suggests that I see myself and think of myself as outside of Him.
If I listen and believe that foreign voice, then my hope is no longer with God—it’s all up to me. So I have to secure myself, I have to be my own hope for the future, and much more. There’s no way I’ll be able to live well or with any kind of deep confidence, 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 feel miserable.
And I almost always act just like I feel.
But what’s the truth? You are forever secure with God. Why? Because Jesus secured you by bringing you into Himself. Why are you holy and blameless with God? Because Jesus brought you into Himself, and gave you His righteousness and holiness, 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. Think of that. 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. Now and forever, you’re in Him.
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.)