God will say “Hey Everyone Look, Come Meet….”
By Pastor Pat Badstibner
One day God will look at the poem he has created out of us and go “In Me I am Most Glorified!” In the meantime we must live in what is sometimes the slavery, burdensome, tiring, everyday life we live now. So what do we do in the meantime? How do we learn to live in the Gospel of Grace in a works driven world?
The Impossible Boss?
Have you ever worked somewhere where your boss or the company gave you a list of tasks or an unreasonable time span to do it in, not enough resources, not enough support and said OK your performance review will be based on your ability to complete and the accuracy of the completeness of this list
Right off the bat how did you feel, excited, thrilled, challenged, inspired or WOW! I will never meet up to these standards, this will never get done, I’m already defeated before I even start.
Now if you were to base how you feel about yourself,on how you performed on that list what happens when you fail? Do you feel good about yourself?
Would you feel vibrant, energetic, uplifted, encouraged, inspired or do you begin to become depressed? We all have been there right?
In truth, we begin to feel less than energized, overwhelmed and depressed. We feel we cannot measure up, don’t and know we won’t measure up!
The Impossible List!
The other lists we create are the lists of so called Christian laws we think we can achieve, accomplish, measure up to. They may be based on what others say the Bible says or what we think the Bible says. We work hard to keep them, to prove to others and ourselves at how good we are at keeping them.
When we are doing pretty good we go God must be pleased with us! Eventually though, we find ourselves experiencing the same frustrations that Paul experienced. The same aggravation he expresses in Romans 7 when Paul tried to keep a list of rules.
You to want to do good but no matter how hard you try you constantly feel you don’t measure up, you’re not doing enough, you’re missing the boat! Paul felt that way!
So then we work harder, we say things like:
- If I only read my Bible more
- I’ll pray more
- I’ll share Christ more
In effect we become your own impossible boss dishing out hard to complete tasks and objectives, hard to reach goals – we become the boss who seems impossible to please.
When we find we are failing to measure up to that boss we begin to do a number of things.
1) We begin to say “Well I’m not who I used to be and I may not be where or what I’m going to be. While this is a true statement.
The problem comes in when we use this line as our justification before God. Our relationship with God becomes based on this and when we fail, well. You know we never do measure up!
This causes us to feel defeated, because no matter how hard we try it seems we just are not growing enough, fast enough, doing enough and then we begin to treat God like he is the taskmaster the unruly and impossible boss. Then we do not spend as much time in worship, lets face it who wants to spend time with an unruly boss.
2) The second thing we do is we realize that we are naked and we stink! We fall way short and are continuing to fall way short. We are like Adam and Eve who after eating the fruit realized that they were naked (Gen. 3:7–11)
When we are around others we put on our loincloths, the all familiar masks. That smile, when we are hurting like HELL! That see me I’m rejoicing in all things, when inside we are screaming. The “I got it all together” when inside we feel the whole world is about to come loose any minute and when it does there will not be enough plugs to hold the leaks and the whole world will know all!
3) The next thing we do is we look for others to make us feel good about ourselves, to prove and approve us, we perform for the attention of others, we place our worth in the opinions of others, the words of others, the value given to us by others so or what we can do or are able to accomplish in order for others to notice.
This is the wife or husband who blames their mate for not making them feel good about things or themselves.
The man or woman who has to have that right house, car, clothes, or whatever they rank in their minds.
The man or woman who needs their family to need them to make them feel like they serve a purpose.
The man or woman who finds their value in what they accomplish!
Anyone feels left out here, I know I don’t!
4) Finally there is another thing we do we begin to emulate and hero worship. We begin to put pressure on ourselves to be somebody else.
“God wants you to be you, if you try to be someone else he might not recognize you. He created you to be you and he loves what he created.”
The Best Law Keeper’s Ever?!
Christ encountered this thinking of judging our relationship with God by keeping a list of little laws. We find this message in Matthew 5 in the Sermon on the Mount when he talked to those who thought they could base their relationship with God, or how God valued them, or how God responded to them, based on how they kept a certain little set of laws.
We see in Matthew 5:20 and 5:48 Christ going “You heard that right, you thought you were doing this and that and doing pretty well. I’m telling you while you were happy with that, YOU GOT TO TAKE IT WAY UP A NOTCH, And You Cannot Do It, WILL NEVER DO IT, Ain’t happening!”
However Christ said something else too, “I have come to set the captives free”. Luke 4:18
Captive who’s a Captive – We ARE!
Captive to what – The original task master – Satan and his lies that have put us all on the performance trap. He who has us placing our relationship with God based on what we are doing!
Ephesians 2:8 defines grace as God giving us something we did not, could not, will not ever deserve.
Sheesh Paul blows it up even further in 2:9 when he says not of works lest any man should boast That is why GRACE Shocks us, makes us go SAY WHAT!
It goes against our grain, it makes no sense to us, its not how we are programmed its not how we are taught to think. It’s not based on the perform/reward model we are accustomed to living by. So we try to define it, understand it, explain it, but cannot do that either!
We try to become grace’s keepers by making a bunch of little laws to go with grace. Here’s a tip – Cannot Keep Grace either, it’s free! While we start with what we do, GRACE starts with who we are.
WHO ARE WE!
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 I am a friend of Jesus Christ, as His disciple.
Romans 5:1 I am among the justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Romans 8:28 – God is my Daddy and I am his child
Romans 8:1–2 I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:31–39 I am free from condemnation. I cannot be separated from God’s love.
2 Corinthians 1:21–22 I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1–4 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.
1 Corinthians 3:16, I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17–21, I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:10, I am God’s workmanship.
1 Peter 2:9 I am God’s Chosen Vessel A Royal Priest and an Instrument of God’s Glory!
Romans 6:22 – I am A Servant of The Most High God
That is where Grace Starts!
Our Reborn Identity!
“The good news of the gospel is that you are no longer defined by your past sins, by your biology, or by your family history. You are defined by one thing: your identity in Christ Jesus.” – Stephen Mark Altrogge
We cannot change our identity, do anything to make our identity worse or better, earn our identity, keep our identity, change our identity or anything else with our identity.
IT JUST IS!
God is going to show you off!
One day God is going to go WOW! Holy Spirit You did an awesome job with [place your name] here!
Then the father is going to walk you around heaven and go hey everyone look at what we did come see my latest poem, my latest handiwork. He’s going to be reflecting on his own glory!
Then the father will say to you when you try to go “BUT DAD I messed up, could never keep the list” to which he will go “What was that can’t seem to remember that.” Hebrews 8:12
Then you will go “Dad I did get some things right did you see when I did this and that” and he will go “Yes, I enjoyed those very much but you could never figure out those things were not as important as enjoying me. It was as though you felt what my son did was not enough and you had to keep earning my favor or you felt that I would throw you out of the house.”
“HEY You know You really are just the way I pictured you!’ I sure do you love you Hey Everyone Look!”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)
Let us never forget!
“What we call the ordinary God never calls instead he calls them his masterpiece and his handiwork, the poems he is writing, which are always extraordinary, never ordinary”
May we help others find the extraordinary handiwork God is doing in their lives and to get off the treadmill and to begin relating to God not by what we do but what he finished! Here is a novel idea let’s begin working on learning how to be drunk on the love of God! Steve Brown says about the love of God the following:
“It should make you laugh and dance with great joy. It might even cause those who don’t understand to say about you what they said about the apostles (see Acts 2:13)—that you are plastered.”
Finally a Reason to get Plastered! No I’m not suggesting you go get drunk, well! Some of us might need to as we learn to live and enjoy our Father, rather than keeping ledgers on ourselves and others! (Just Kidding! Well Maybe!)
However may we truly come to an understanding our Father truly is most blessed by the Poiema he is writing!