When Enough Isn’t Enough…

This season of life has had me pondering… well in actuality it has had me wrestling, struggling, and many other -ings. It never ceases to amaze that we are given seasons in life that are custom fit for our growth and maturity. It also baffles that those seasons always have to include a serious amount of discomfort… or maybe that’s just me.  Now amazement and… bafflement? baffledom? baffeledness?… you get the point, those things aside, it is an awesome thought that we have been given enough to journey (at whatever pace necessary) through these seasons.  However, inside that last sentence lies the biggest struggle for our hearts and minds; the great tension of “enough”.  (cue dramatic tense music here)

Do we really have enough? Do we really have all that we need? Lately I have been reading a pretty great book by a pastor from Florida named Tullian Tchividjian (chi-vee-jan) entitled “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” and I must say it’s a very good read. It points out the obvious struggle we have with really recognizing that Jesus is truly sufficient, or He is really enough.  Truth be told this book probably struck me because of my own season, and of course that is why I’m writing about it now. The depth of the impact of the book though, that has come as a result of what God has been doing in my heart for the last few months.  The question of enough-ness is a reality in this season and coming to a real and in depth grappling with the sufficiency of the Gospel has been a key part of the journey.

The Gospel, the best news mankind has ever received, is so often thought of as a step on the road of the Christian, and that is really tragic, and a huge mistake.  Why? Because in the Gospel is where we find enough! We want to find enough so badly we look everywhere for it. High and low, in every crevice, under every rock, and in every other place we think the world will offer it to us. The reality of this lifelong search is that we end up trying to get it from both “good” and “bad” things in our lives.  The problem is that we are left depleted and longing for more, or searching for the next new thing that will be enough. We fill our lives with those things and it leads to an insidious form of idolatry that we can’t even recognize (especially when it’s the “good” stuff).

 TRAPPED

That’s where we can end up. Trapped or enslaved to the things that we are desperately hoping will be enough. The things we hope will build our image, increase our significance, secure our identity or fill every void. Everything that, from the outside in, looks like we truly have enough, but in reality it is only keeping us addicted to those things all the while our hearts are burdened and longing for something real. Practically it may be the thing that keeps us in a mindset of putting others down to elevate ourselves, drives us to seek accolades and praise for the good acts we produce, leads us to craving a place to be needed or valued, or has us diving into relationship after relationship seeking comfort.

We can seek the solution in religion, hopeful that it will lead to a sufficient filling of our need for enough, but in the end this is also a trap. Our acts of service lead to self righteous attitudes, our identities get wrapped up in what we do, our value tied to the “goodness” we portray.

Isaiah and Paul said it best: “Our righteousness (self righteous acts) are as filthy rags” and “I consider all things (contextually all the “good” things Paul had done to be “righteous”) rubbish (literal: crap) that I might gain Christ” (Isaiah 64:6 and Phil 3:2-11)

Think about it… that’s what is written about the good we try to do to fill the void, or just for the sake of being good.

FREEDOM

Freedom is found, or more importantly, enough is found in the Gospel.  This is why it’s so desperately important that we NEVER think that we have matured beyond the Gospel, but instead we need to wrestle with it every day of our lives. When that happens there is freedom! Freedom to truly live, freedom to serve without need for praise, freedom to encourage without seeking affirmation, the list goes on and on and on. Imagine how we could live if we were truly finding enough in the Gospel, if we truly found satisfaction in the fact that while we were enemies of God, while we were far off, in the depth of our sin, when we were dead in our junk… at that point, God sent Jesus to die the death we deserved to give us the life we didn’t. If we consider that, or not just consider, but we give it significant weight each day, we really think about it, we could indeed find the enough that the Gospel has to offer each of us.

My prayer for each of us is that we look for enough where enough can only truly be found.

Indivisible… with Christianity for all?

But who’s counting right?

In all actuality I was sickly yesterday, laying on the couch sleeping, watching netflix, and having a great conversation with an old friend. Which brings me to another retro-type thought… Is it just me or did the movie “DUNE” seem so much cooler when we were kids? I watched it yesterday and thought it was kinda weird. I loved that movie when I was younger.

BUT… that is a totally different conversation. Today, since we missed yesterday, is “Retro Blog Day – the make up day” where I will take something from my old blog circa 2007-2008 and publish it here, for the fun of it. This one goes out to my man PC over at http://www.ragamuffinpc.com who asked a great question (or made a bold statement with instruction) in his comment on my last post:

One thing I have been thinking from time to time is that it seems American Christians seem to wait on the government to enact movement to situations and areas that the Church should have been a long time ago. Chew on that!

So this sort of answers my thought to that question/statement…

This was originally written Spring 2008 during the Presidential election cycle and the talk radio rhetoric was at an all time high in quantity, and low in quality. As I re-read this post, I do realize there was a bit of an angry tone, so I ask for your forgiveness in advance… I was much younger then! READ ON…

Indivisible… with Christianity for all? April, 1 2008

So… The second half of this exasperation; political agenda. I fear we have place political conservatism above the cross. That “good Christians” should vote or think only in very specific ways and that we should only be caught up with certain issues. Again… CRAPOLA!! The problem with the zealous political wing of Christianity (if you can really put all that together) is the underlying insidious nature of what they really want. They basically want a new messiah.

Much like the pharisees in Jesus day, they want a politically established leader who will affirm all that we believe as Christians as right and good and start to legislate as such. Now some may wonder why that is even a problem. It’s a huge problem, we shouldn’t want mandated Christianity, in fact it should scare the crap out of us. The thought of it should cause us to run out and get motivated to stop it. We should desire passionate, authentic, zealous faith that people gain from their interaction with the Holy Spirit, not something that they are doing in fear that the government will come barging in to their home to decree that they are not fulfilling their duties. Now… do I desire a Presidential candidate that has biblical wisdom and is a professing Christian… sure, but I don’t want a government that will start legislating Christianity as law, because the reality of the matter is… how long will it be before I don’t measure up?

I’m not sure which aspect of this gets me most riled up, but to be sure there is a level of Hypocrisy that is extreme. We have certainly come right out and bashed any of the Arabian and Asian governments that have established any form of religious law and to be sure we praise the founders that fled England due to religious oppression under the established church state. Yet for some reason there are those that think that it would work here, that power and corruption would never take hold in these modern times. My response to that is… are you crazy?

The question that must be asked… or the warning that must be leveled at this line of thinking;

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

The major problem with this whole thought is not just having a faith mandated (establishment of a religion) and having people forced into a way of believing which never works, and I have no doubt in my mind that is not what God desires. The issue is again relying on governmental or institutional powers to do the work of the Church and God’s people. If faith and all morality is legislated, then faith and morality in and of themselves lose power.

I certainly think there is a place to stand for what is right, and to be vocal about it, but there are times I fear the underlying motivations, and in the over-zealous politicised Christian conservative, even though I do not doubt they are my brother/sister… I do indeed find fear. So weigh your convictions, act on them, live with them firmly in place. As the word came to Zechariah the prophet:

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’

We need to seek true justice… and many times that will not come in the form of the government. It will come in the form of God’s people going forth and acting as His hands and feet to a fallen and broken world.

Now please do not take this as a call to vacate the political process in general. It’s not.. go and vote, exercise your right to do so, vote with that same conviction and wisdom that guides you in life and trust the God, who is Sovereign over all, will see that the outcome is to His plan.