Thursday, January 19, 2012

Get Real

“So... how are you doing spiritually?”

I am frequently asked this question by friends and family, and I’ve never really noticed the pattern to my answers. You know the ones that sound something like this: “Good. I’ve really been getting into the Word this week.” “Well, I’m not struggling with this or that as much as I was last year.” “The sermon on Sunday was awesome. I really learned a lot.” Sound familiar?

Although these answers may be true in an over-gernalized, superficial way, I’ve come to find that there’s really no good way to answer this question. You see, the problem here lies with the question itself.. “How are you doing spiritually?” We have yet to even hear the name, Jesus, in these kinds of conversations. He doesn’t seem to be the point. It is me that is the focus of my salvation.

So let’s get real here for a second and talk about how I am doing spiritually: “Spiritually, I’m the worst. I’m broken. I want to do good and, yet, I choose what is bad. I don’t measure up to God’s standard. In fact, I am so painfully aware of my weaknesses, my flaws, my failures... and guess what? So is God.

So how about rephrasing the question? How about something like this: “How is God picking up the pieces of your broken life and using them for the glory of His kingdom?” We must move our eyes from our sin to our GOD.

Those of us who have been rescued by God really should not have anything to prove. We should be able to call sin what it is because we know it has been paid for through the blood of Jesus Christ. So maybe, rather than offering up socially acceptable responses to this question, let’s all get real. Let’s not be ashamed of the areas that we need God. Let us boast in our weaknesses. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I love this story about C.H. Spurgeon:

C.H. Spurgeon was greeting parishioners outside the Metropolitan Tabernacle after a certain Sunday worship service. He was accompanied by his elders and a throng of people came by to thank him for the service. However, as the crowd paraded by Spurgeon, an elderly lady approached him with a look of consternation on her face. “Mr. Spurgeon,” she sharply began, “you are the most arrogant, obnoxious, annoying man that I have ever heard of. And I wanted to be the one to tell you so.” The crowd grew somewhat quiet with embarrassment as the old woman stormed off in a huff. With all eyes on him, Spurgeon turned to the elder standing next to him and said, “Sheesss, she doesn’t know the half of it."

What C.H. Spurgeon understood was that (just like me) he was a screw up... but what he also knew was that God loved screw ups. Think about all the people God used in the Bible: Peter - a man who was told that the church would be built upon him, and he goes and denies Christ 3 times. David committed adultery and conspired to commit murder. And yet God said David was a man after His own heart. Jonah was instructed to go to Ninevah, but ran away instead. When he finally did do what God commanded, he did it with a bad attitude. And yet God used him to turn the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people back to Him. And hello.... Paul. Paul devoted his life to persecuting the church. And yet God used him to take the gospel to the gentiles and write the majority of the New Testament.

It is my prayer that when asked the question, “how are you doing spiritually?” that we would make it a little less about us, and a lot more about God’s grace.

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