I've been reluctant to post anything because there are just too many things to say, thousands of moments of grace and lessons. Trying to say any one thing would surely cause me to overlook another possibly more insightful thought. But I'll go ahead and bust out a few of the snippets anyway, if only for my own edification:
After spending many hours this week preparing for an inspection of my office and the processes we use, on of my coworkers (and peers) commented to me: "Sometimes you seem a little aloof. But most of the time you seem like are applying for a job. You know like you're on a job interview or auditioning for your position or something. You need to chill out." Hmmmmmm.
I also give classification testing, SATs, ACTs, stuff like that. So, I'm constantly meeting young guys and gals who have a real hard time working out all of the good knowledge that they definitely have in their heads into their pencils and onto the answer sheets, within the time allotted. Well, spiritual pride sneaks up in this too. Oh, I understand how all of this works, how all of these people can do better... blah, blah, blah. But in reality am I really any different? So what if I can take the head knowledge and type out on a keyboard or fill in a bunch of little black dots? On the theological side, my head to heart connection is 10x more bleak than any of my remedial students - by Far!
Then I think of my B+ scorch mark. This came up when I was reviewing my undergrad and grad transcripts and wondering whether I'll be accepted to seminary. I received a B+ in BritLit II for my undergrad. And a B+ in Issues in Cyber Security for my masters. All of my other grades were A's. The BritLit was a conscious decision, since my professor was a buddhist and wanted me to rewrite my final paper so that it didn't have such a similar theme as my midterm paper. Well, I knew what he wanted (compromise) and I refused. The Cyber Security class was completely different. This was a completely Sovereign obliteration of my academic/Works based frame of mind and idolatry. It was March 2006 and I was writing a paper on Electromagnetic Pulse and Potential Cyberthreat. We had just had a women's retreat about peacemaking and the lesson on idolatry was still echoing in my heart and mind. I finished my last paragraph and decided to go to lunch. When I came back, my laptop hard drive was fried. The computer guy said it was an "unexplainable electromagnetic pulse"!!!! Can you believe it?? Talk about worthless idols. This one destroyed itself. My initial reaction, bizzare as it may seem, was to fall on my face and worship God. Seriously! I was overjoyed. Can you imagine?? I had a new outlook on my academic "Doing" from then on.
Finally, there is that pesky calling thing that has been following me around for as long as I can remember. I mean last year all everyone ever heard about from me was "Jonah, Jonah, Jonah." I was sooo Jonah ch 3. Totally ignored God's call and spit out on dry land and being re-commisioned. This year has been much more purposeful and also God has given much more clarity. The calling thing started a LONG time ago. That's why I even went to college to get my degree in the first place, because you really can't serve the Lord in any full-time way unless you have a degree, and I didn't. I quit my job to go to school full-time and then to go into ministry. But instead, I got a job offer as I was coming close to finishing my degree, making three times more than I've ever made in my life. Plus, I had the opportunity to become an officer and have a future as a leader. And I did it all. Big challenges. Lots of lessons. Lots of stories. Lots of growth. But BIG MISTAKE!! And I really, really have a hard time trusting God's Sovereignty with all of this. I fell into a sinful relationship and stopped going to church and a whole bunch of other things. And I'm still dealing with the consequences of a lot of those decisions.
Now, it seems God's totally gotten a hold of my heart and is purifying it and at the same time calling me out of that job and into ???____??? I don't know what?? It is frustrating, okay!
So, as I read a Bible commentary on the "Rich Young Man" in Mark 19:
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" 17 And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." 18 He said to him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 20 The young man said to him, "All these I have kept. What do I still lack?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
I had two impressions:
1- Step out in faith. Leave the job. Just do it. Quit, sell the house, and go do mission work.
And 2 - Stop trying to Do things. God doesn't need me to DO stuff. All of my "doings" are dead. The deeds of the flesh whether well meaning or not are not of God. He doesn't need them and they DO nothing to improve my intimacy with Him.
The overriding perspective that I seemed to be getting is - What You're Doing is Dead.
Partly because what I'm doing is because of consequences of my sinfulness and not being obedient to God in the first place. And also because I have this undergirding sense that I'm some kind of a Christian intern. Like I'm trying out for the part. If I do well enough, God will offer me the job. Weird, huh?
Ultimately, my life IN Christ is all that matters and all that counts. All those deeds, whether well intentioned or not, have been nailed to the cross. I bear them no more. They have been crucified with Christ through His blood and His sacrified. The old has gone, the new remains.
His precious love and peace and grace living in me. Alive. Now. Right now.
Thank you Lord Jesus for saving me from my sin and my self-righteous deeds and attitudes. Continue to guide me by the light of your Holy Spirit dwelling within me. Lead me to living streams. Lead me to still water. And help my unbelief. Restore my soul. Lead me in paths of righteousness for Your Name's sake.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Update: Another Sermon that speaks appropriately to the idea of "Christian Audition"
»Are You Dying to be Free?
July 16, 2007