Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Can't - We Can't

I can't live the Christian life.

Neither can you.

Nobody can.  

Oh, I know you will regale me with Bible verses like, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me," (Phil 4:13).  Yes, I get that.  

But that's not what I'm talking about.  By the way, it's a very common thing to have people pay lip service to Philippians 4:13 and try to live that Christian life by NOT doing it through Christ, but in their own strength.  That's probably because accepting that we can do absolutely NOTHING (like Jesus told us in John 15) is hard on the ego.

Incidentally, I've heard a really good acronym for the word 'ego' - it's 'Edging God Out'.  Very descriptive!  

We like to think that we have power over our circumstances, power over our lives, our relationships, our inner life.  The truth is, we might be able to sustain it for a few minutes, a few hours, even (if very disciplined) a few days.  But we will ALWAYS mess up.  I do. A lot.

I can't do it.  I can't do ANY thing without depending entirely and persistently on God.  The only thing that I can do is to actively seek intimate relationship with Him.  

Source (via Google Images):
I'm not saying that I don't need to go to work in the morning or to look after my family, not saying that I have to sit on some mountaintop and wait for inspiration.  But what I am saying is that I need to depend totally on Him to do more than just survive life - to actually LIVE life.  In the moment.  Every day.  To the full.

A lot of what we're taught regarding doing things "for God" is based on the humanistic (human-centered) mythology of our society.  It's religion (which, after all is stripped away, is just a human attempt to gain brownie points with God) whether you couch it in evangelical Christian terms or not.  It's the whole basis behind formula-based living: the lie that we can do something to influence the outcome.  We can't.  God decides.  That's part of being God.  

God calls us to a life of indescribable beauty, adventure, and purpose.  But the first time we try to 'organize' it - we kill it... just the way someone trying to 'organize' an organism (for example, lop off an arm and a leg and make them switch places) ends up killing the organism through vivisection.  

And did you ever notice that not one person is exactly like another? So why is it that we are forced into these "cookie-cutter" molds of what a believer should look and act like? (You know, there's an awful lot of dough - stuff that doesn't fit inside the cookie-cutter and which is perfectly good - that gets wasted that way.)   Some folk just want to make everyone look and act like them - not because it's required by scripture but because that's their interpretation of it based on their upbringing and indoctrination.  I lived there in that conformist trap for years.  Instead of celebrating diversity in the body of Christ, I was leaning toward cloning.  My version of Christianity looked like producing little replicas of the perfect fundamentalist, all looking, acting, and talking the same way.  (For Star Trek fans, this is as scary as the words, all spoken by automatons in unison by millions of voices, "We are the Borg.  You will be assimilated."  Or rather, "We are the Church.  You will be unstimulated.")  I'm so glad God messed with my agenda, and taught me that He delights in the endless variety that humans bring to the equation - and can't wait to enter into relationship with us.  

And all that, so that He can work through our individuality and our past and present experiences to bring something beautiful, something previously unknown, to the world.  The key, though, is that He gets to work THROUGH us.  On our own, even with the best intentions - well, we'd mess up royally.  

He's our only hope.

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