My friend, may I ask you a question? The question is, does God care about how we sound to ourselves? He’s given us this freedom. Or, is he far more concerned with our ability to use the freedom he gives to BE someone who knows he’s free to be obedient?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
It’s been said, “In the world to come you and I will not be asked, ‘Why were you not so and so? We will be asked, ‘Why were you not who I made you to be?’” The problem is if God gives us the freedom to be whomever we wish, then isn’t it natural to follow the individual path that God has given us to walk? A poll sheds light on the paradox in today’s culture of increased religiosity and decreased morality, according to sociologist Robert Bellah. His conclusion: “… the key to the paradox is that those who claim to be Christians are arriving at faith on their own terms – terms that make no demands on behavior. A woman named Sheila, interviewed for his book Habits of the Heart, embodies this attitude: “I believe in God,” she said. “. . . my faith has carried me a long way. It's ‘Sheila-ism.’ Just my own little voice.” How about you and I? Are we just as guilty as Shiela in that regard? We niche out our own little corner of ethics, a place where we are comfortable with a life that we have chosen, and proclaim that in freedom, holy freedom, here we live and were meant to be.
Sad but true it’s human nature to want to hear our own voice over that of others, especially the voice of our Creator God. There’s just something natural about that. Did you ever fascinate over the sound of your own voice on tape or on the radio? Having been on the radio for years, I know the fascination personally. The question is, does God care about how we sound to ourselves? Or, is he far more concerned with our ability to use our freedom to BE someone, choosing the option to be someone who knows he’s free to be obedient?
Oswald Chambers writes: “God does not pay any attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His order runs right across the natural life, and we have to see that we aid and abet God, not stand against Him and say – ‘I can’t do that.’ God will not discipline us, we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring every thought and imagination into captivity; we have to do it. Do not say – ‘O Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.’ Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individuality, and get emancipated out into personality.”
John 8:36 gives us a clue as to what God IS expecting from our freedom to be the someone he created. The Apostle John writes. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Ironically, the freedom John is announcing here is a freedom to exclude ourselves from the liberty of making choices to please ourselves so as to bind ourselves to the Son of God as bondservants. The freedom to embrace Shelia-ism is always there. That kind of faith, however, won’t get us where God wants us to go. He is looking to make us captive to a faith that transforms, causing us to place our imagination and every thought into captive service. Just being content to hear our little voice is always an option, but it is utterly non-transforming. Remember God won’t be asking why we didn’t live like Christ; his question will be “Why didn’t we choose to live in him apart from ourselves?”
We pray. Heavenly Father, we are so often tempted to find glory in how we do things rather than how Christ has made things happen. Forgive us Lord when we find our comfort in knowing that we have done the mission rather than in knowing the mission has been done. Help us to live in the shadow of the One who has perfectly done all things, Jesus Christ. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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God bless you for Jesus sake.