Lately I've been reading the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. I just finished a chapter called 'Profile of the Lukewarm' and it really was good for me to hear. The entire chapter is great, but this is the part that convicted me the most:
"Lukewarm People do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens--they have their savings account. They don't need God to help them--they have their retirement plan in place. They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live--they have life figured and mapped out. They don't depend on God on a daily basis--their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God."
This is sadly true in my life on multiple levels, which is hurtful to me. I know God has done some great things in my life and has answered many prayers. He as guided me through many situations, but there are many situations where I did not come to Him, and just made things happen my way on my own terms. That is not why we are here. Sometimes when I look at my current situation, mostly financially,and how it affects my future, I try to figure out what to do to own my own to improve it. If I would have just given more of my plans and decisions to God before they were happening, I don't think that I would be in the same situation. I don't know this for sure, but I feel things would be a little different.
We plan things too often by ourselves and for ourselves. We have our game of life mapped out with little room for bumps, turns, or possibly total detours. Many of us have food in the fridge and at least some money in the bank. We don't go to God often enough to figure out how to improve our situation, or how to be used in a better way by Him. I would really hope that my life would look different if I suddenly stopped believing in God. But many times I slip and fail and get lazy or mess up. And at those times, I tend to start caring more about myself than about my walk with God.
So maybe it's not a challenge to you at all, but it really put me in my place and gave me a good (new) starting point. Andy and I were talking about something the other day and something he said also gave me a jolt of reality. We were talking about Jesus and the huge sacrifice that was made for us. He said something like, "It's just so crazy, He died for us. People like us continuously spit in His face, let Him down, and beat Him just like they did on the day He died. We do it so often. And even though we treat Him horribly and abuse Him, He would still die all over again for us." I know I've heard that concept before, but it just really hit me that time. Like wow, I am a total loser who treats Him like dirt at times......but His love for me is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO unconditional.
Anyway, I really need to get ready for bed. Here are some verses that are also in that chapter:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." ~Matt 7:21
"Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation" ~Amos 6:1
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says" ~James 1:22
"Anyone, then, who knows the good he out to do and doesn't do it, sins" ~James 4:17
"I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead." ~Rev 3:1
And another paragraph that I really liked:
"When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines.......What turned me off was that in those advertisements, everyone was always running. Always. And I hate running.
But you know what? I didn't bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would've been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you.
Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn't say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, "Take up your cross and follow me."