Sunday, February 18, 2007

Oh the Glory of it All

I have this Chinese fortune pinned to my Boston colleges map in the dining room. I don't know if that's sacreligious, but it's there. It says, "there are no ordinary days." I think that's appropriately pinned to that prayer map. There ARE no ordinary days when it comes to following God's purpose for your life. It's a matter of prayerfully asking to see life around you as He sees it. That will open up your eyes and explode your brain. I can only take small doses, but I want to be able to ingest more.

I was thinking about that fortune the last couple of days. I began today reading up a storm and figured this ordinary day would work out like this: Bible, book, newspaper, church, bed. That was just about right, but such a list doesn't contain an iota of the richness of each of those 'tasks.' I rounded up 1 Corinthians this morning, pondering how the resurrection flows into the believer working for Christ.

Then I finished off the book I started last night. I couldn't stop reading it. I didn't know what I was getting into when I opened it up last night at 10pm--I just knew I wanted to read it. This book affirmed everything that the Spirit has spoken to my heart in the last few months, complete with some of the same terminology and wording. I've been focusing (even perseverating) on the idea of good vs great (or best). Good things are the stuff we settle for when the great things seems too huge or impossible, but the great things are exactly the stuff God personally calls us to do. They are different for everyone, but those decisions require a great deal of faith. Batterson spoke directly to this issue on pg 106, "Good is often the enemy of great...Sometimes taking a calculated risk means giving up something that is good so you can experience something that is great. In a sense, sin is short-changing ourselves and short-changing God. It is settling for anything less than God's best. Faith is the exact opposite. Faith is renouncing lesser goods for something greater. And it always involves a calculated risk." Whoa. Settling is sin. Um, God, I think I'm getting the hint here...

The other section of the book that struck me was the chapter on the importance of looking foolish. Beth Moore spoke on that exact topic at Passion and it smacked this perfectionist between the eyes. In the beginning, we suck at stuff that requires practice. And sometimes God will call us to follow Him despite what logic and people will tell us (aka Noah and his big ol' boat in the desert). Here's what Batterson says about this: "The greatest breakthroughs, miracles, and turning points in Scripture can be traced back to someone who was willing to look foolish." There's something about conformity to 'proper' behavior that civilizes the little, creative, foolish child out of us. I was once the little girl who lifted up her dress during the children's sermon and danced around with all the Christmas bows flopping on her head--I don't do that stuff anymore. Christ was really on to something when He spoke about becoming like little children--there's the innocent, whole-hearted belief and also the part that is creatively nonconformist. Christ doesn't want us to sit in rows, dress just right, liking the same music, and saying all the right words. That's not who He was. That's not who He wants us to be. The beauty part is that He didn't just come to free us from sin, but He also came to free us from being those whitewashed identical tombs too. Conformity stifles living out our potential in Christ. We are already whole in Him, so why are we so focused on the gospel of sin management?

This is the most inspirational book I've read in a really long time. It was like a Passion conference packed into less than 200 pages. It was a warrior's treatise. It was exactly what I (and so many others I know) needed to hear right now. This is a pivotal moment of decision to continue on the path of doing something great. Not great like the world sees it or great in my own strength, but God doing something great in and through me. He's the author of this thing and I'm just here, straining to listen and respond with proper honor.

Oh the glory of it all...we will never be the same.

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