Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are headed for some very turbulent air. I ask that you return to your seats, bring your trays to their upright position, and tightly fasten your seat belts. This is going to be a bumpy ride!
I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of playing church. I’m fluent in Christianese; I have a master’s degree in theological studies but too often I have a theology of Dave and not the Bible.
Yesterday my pastor said, “A shallow Christianity robs you of the best things to come.”
I’m tired of being robbed; robbed by my own theology.
Casting Crowns has a song on their 2007 CD “The Altar and the Door” titled “Somewhere in the Middle” and the chorus yells at me:
Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle?
Imagine if Jesus was caught in the middle; between being a man and being God. What if He chose to be a man when He was in the garden? Would He still have gone to the cross?
My late son Eddie right after he got saved at age 12 asked me a profound question that gave evidence to his coming deep theology.
“Dad, what if Jesus had never been born?”
I’ll never forget that as long as I live. It was 1997 and I was filling up my minivan at the old Fort Rucker gas station. I got back into the van and he dropped that theological bomb on me. Its simplistic depth stunned me. I was partly ashamed to realize that my boy was thinking deeper thoughts of Jesus than I ever challenged myself to think.
I want to go deep.
Like dwell on this Bible verse for a while:
“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” (Luke 23:34)
Pastor Dennis had us concentrate on the word “them.” Instead of the word coming off the page as usual this time I seemed to dive into the page with the word getting bigger and bigger until I was swimming in it.
Them: the objective case of they, used as a direct or indirect object.
Who were them? They were Jesus’ enemies.
Why would He say that? Of course they knew what they were doing! They planned the whole murder!
Go back some 17 chapters in Luke and remember Jesus’ words:
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
Jesus was practicing what He preached. But He was also fulfilling prophecy:
“Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)
It is so amazing how Christlike I feel when I’m not near Him…Jesus that is.
And then I read the Bible.
It gets me every time.
The Bible reveals me as a fearless warrior behind a picket fence.
The Bible reveals my reckless abandon wrapped in my own common sense.
The Bible reveals my deep water faith even though I’m standing in the shallow end.
The Bible reveals the God I want and the God that is.
The Bible reveals my mask.
I read the Bible and it speaks of me:
“The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” (Psalm 55:21)
I read the Bible and Jesus commands me to love my enemies and I hate them. I hate those who murder babies; I hate those who pass laws that allow babies to be continued to be murdered. I hate those who have an ideology that does not fit mine because they are not saved and in their lostness do not understand they are doing the devil’s work.
I hate them because I’m really not Christlike at all. I not only would not forgive my enemies from the cross, I won’t go to the cross.
I know…you don’t hate so just bear with me for a little bit more…I’m almost done for the morning.
I read my Bible in Luke 9 and instead of reading the words of Jesus and applying it to my life I listen to church tradition that has modernized this passage to fit current theology. I read the following passage as carrying my burdens in life instead of dying to myself daily:
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? or whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.’” (Luke 9:23-26)
There is nothing in that passage that speaks of carrying my burdens. It speaks of daily dying to myself to save myself or I can daily save myself and lose my life. I can be Christlike or I can be like Dave. I want to be like Jesus but I still like Dave too much.
I daily rob myself of the best things to come.
I have a shallow Christianity.
Excuse me as I wade into the deep end…
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers