I have been gone a few months! Started a new job and brain power to write has been zero. But I’m back!
There are two things that finally broke through my writer’s block. One is a lovely young lady who liked a couple of my recent posts and followed the blog. So: welcome Junaisha, and thanks for the support! The second is that I have been taking a week-long break from filming for Mission: Zer0. The reasons for that break are exactly what I want to talk about today.
I think I’ve said this before in the blog, but in my past I was a very argumentative person. I spent hours a day online either arguing or researching before starting an argument. My favorite argument? How deluded Christians were. Oh, how I relished helping a Christian see how ridiculous their faith was and how much of a sham the religion was.
Then I tried to kill myself and God changed all that. I got saved and all of that need drained away. Instead of all those years of speaking and worshiping death I wanted to worship and speak life. I started this very blog because people on Facebook tired of reading my walls of text.
But in the past few weeks I have had a number of run-ins with people on Facebook that have led me back down those old feelings of thirst for argument. It has cost me a fair measure of my peace, and I could not rightly stand in front of a camera speaking life when I sat down behind it and pissed people off left and right.
Love Is Strange
Last week in a really frustrating argument I was being attacked by Christians for proving to them that the hate they were spewing was sinful.
All at once the Spirit slapped me across the face with John 15:12:
Yep, those words are in red because they were spoken by Jesus. Can I express to you the conviction in that? I was sitting there tearing at Christians who “wronged me first” by wronging them back. The Love between us was demonstrating everything I used to attack about Christianity all those years ago: the division, the dysfunction, the rage and petty arguing. That broke my heart.
The thing that motivates me, the thing that has driven me since the day I was born again, is Love for all of my brothers and sisters. Those who are lost, those who are found, those who are caught in the middle. I want to hear the chorus whole again. And here I had been making “them”s and decrying “their” failures not in edification, but in accusation. I had fallen back into using the little lion’s tongue in some bizarre attempt to do the Lord’s work. Nonsense. It’s not wrong to call people out, but it is SO wrong to do it as the accuser would do it, to push people down instead of lifting them up.
You Don’t Own Me
The truth of our broken nature, of our fallenness, is that it is not deep; it is broad. There are many paths that lead us to drown in that water, but the reality is that the water is only one inch deep. All we have to do to defeat sin, to defeat the worship of death and break the words of death, is to stand up. We drown ourselves in that one inch of water because we convince ourselves it’s an ocean we are trapped in.
Proverb 16:3 reads:
The interesting thing about this proverb is that it’s true in two ways. If you place corrupt works before God He will fulfill the corrupt plans in your heart. Bring Him greed and He will bring you limitless cash, but it will forever slip through your fingers. Bring Him rage and He will bring you wars to fight in. And it is exactly that situation I was lost in.
Never, though, have I been one to hit the bottom and keep digging. I can at least say that it’s never been my policy to continue on after I realize how boorish I’m being. This time is no different. My self-image is not something I should be taking out on other people, even those who I perceive as having contributed to it. Even on myself.
The other truth of that proverb, the intended one, is that if we bring God our passion He will reward us with the chances to follow it and earn the joy of chasing it. The passion I have is in edifying people, in building people up. That is why Mission: Zer0 exists: to build people up, and to exhort them to build up others.
If I commit this to God, if I release my hold on my self-hatred, He will give me the deepest desire of my heart — a thing I have scarce voiced to anyone save my wife. He gave me Mission: Zer0 because I am thirsty for that moment that a person recognizes their value and their place in the world. There is nothing that brings me greater joy than knowing someone else Loves God.
The depth of that proverb is vast. It is not just telling us how God treats obedience; it is driving home that it’s not just one type of action that He will reward. It’s not one type of work that He will bless us in. No: whatever we chase, so long as we submit it to Him, He will bless us in it. How mind-blowing is that?
In The Still Of The Night
What is it that you want? What is the deepest desire of your heart? Is it money? Stability? Fame? Beauty? The world will tell you all of these are vanity, and to be certain: none of them have lasting permanence. But if you follow God, if you chase Him above all and do the work you do to show Him your dedication, your persistence, your exaltation… watch if He won’t bring you these things and vastly more!
It is rarely what you ask for that is corrupt… it is why you ask for it. If it is to serve self, to shunt growth by making life more comfortable, easier, then we’re not walking in His light and the desire is wasted. But if it is to enable us to do more, to push harder, to grow more… that’s a different story altogether.
The key word of that Proverb is “commit”. The Hebrew word there is גָּלַל, galal, and it is a verb that means “to roll,” as in “to roll a stone away.” The Proverb is literally exhorting us to shove off whatever we are doing to God. What does this mean? To just let Him have all of it; all the stresses and strains, all the prognosticating about how it will turn out, all of the pressure of getting it done. We just shove that off to God and focus on doing the best we can with what we have. The other way to say that? Trust God. Trust that He’s got all of this. All of everything. We just have to trust Him.
It is easy to say, but the hardest thing in the world to do. To override the instincts this world has taught us. It is a feat that comes only by prayer, only by asking Him, only by genuine worship. Father, I don’t know if I can adequately describe the power of this Proverb, but I know that You can. Please show their hearts the way to truly trust You. And please keep pushing me down that road, because I know I get fleshy and foolish and stray. But never do I doubt You. Never.
Our Father in Heaven, bless Your might name. Bring us awareness of Your Kingdom in our hearts and minds as clearly as the Heavenly host perceive it. Bring us the knowledge, instinct, and understanding to walk the path of light today. Shatter the unforgiveness and easily-offended nature that we so readily allow to rule our behavior.
Help us to resist the call to do those things we shouldn’t do, don’t want to do, feel guilty and shamed over. Shield us from the evil in this world and in our own hearts. Help us to see and to understand that Your Kingdom isn’t a far-away future palace, but a living, breathing world right now, right here that we can live in if we can just shift our perspective.
You uphold us with the strength of Your arm, and no thing we think is devastating can pull us out of Your hand. You are the eternal glory in our souls and we ask every day for more of You. More of You living inside more of us; an army of Your children standing up — and pulling up others. In the sacred and saving name of Your mighty Son, Your Word, Your chosen Christ and my brother, my King, my Savior, and my Teacher, Jesus, I pray all these things and more. Amen!