Monday, July 13, 2009
No More Christian Butt Kicking
Well, I’ve just heard another sermon lacking anything very glorious about God (which might induce faith and worship and passion in the church), but which was full of deft and agile butt kicking. Rather than teach the church the incredible gospel, rather than offer the listeners anything that might open their eyes and warm and fill their hearts with reviving and motivating wonder and awe, the sermon offered instruction on how to make something of their sorry selves by self-condemnation and harsh self-treatment.
I was disappointed . . .and a bit mad.
If we are the perfect, new creation sons and daughters of God, who live by the Spirit now in us, and if we are God’s workmanship, then, God, redeem us from the belief that we are our own worst enemies! We’re Spirit-born sons, recognized throughout the heavens! The flesh is indeed donkey-like, but we’re not flesh. Not anymore, not ever again.
And while you’re at it, God, redeem us from believing we have to kick our own butts to get our selves going or to make ourselves arrive somewhere—like we’re little better than religious donkeys. How can that work? Start with the biggest problem (our presumed bad self), and motivate our bad self with the same bad self. Not only is it inaccurate, it cannot possibly work. What Godly thing could one hope to produce?
If, however, we believe the truth and offer our redeemed selves to Him, He will gladly produce the life of Christ now in us. “Oh, Father! We believe you! You’ve made us right with you—not just legally but actually. It’s incredible! With minds renewed by the truth, we offer ourselves—your holy vessels—to you. In awe, we believe and worship you, and expect you will be glorified.”
That’s how Christ is formed in us. He won’t be formed in us by a serious and skillful butt kicking!
So knock that stuff off—or I’ll come over there and kick your butt.
There. Rant over.