Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight, Fight ... Fight?

So, a couple weeks ago, I posted this post. Later, in the comments, my friend Paul posted this (and this response has been awaiting publication ever since):

I wanted to share something with you. I spent a decade and a half, and still to this day, watching with vigilance to not "slip" from God. Then I started to consider the fact that I will not get any closer to God, than Christ crucified and resurrected. What I mean by that is that I was killing myself, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually trying to stay "spiritual." Sharing my faith, showing up to functions, having my prayer and bible reading times, and so forth. Then I realized that I was missing the elephant in the room. It is not my divine responsibility to remain spiritual. I will never be spiritual in the sense of my actions. I will only be as good as Christ Crucified and resurrected. My whole Christian responsibility is to express the love I've received by obeying the command of God, which is clearly defined by the love we share for our fellow Christians, and our neighbors. It is to express mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. It is not a heavy burden of having the correct behavior every minute of the day. It is to forgive as I have been for given Ephesians 4:32. I had to stop, stop doing bad, and simply start what was doing good. Focus on what is doing good, and do that. You will sin as long as you live on earth. Period. Why stress out over a lull in the way things were going? Did you stop being compassionate and forgiving? Did you stop offering mercy to your neighbors? These are the things of God. Be holy as God is holy. Set apart by your purity and divine nobility. Being spiritually relaxed, and spiritually receding can be two different things, if you let it.
Boy, did that hit my right where I live.

Lately, I've been in this funk. I just haven't felt like, well, doing anything. Yet, I felt guilty about not doing anything. Bleah.

For 17 years I lived under the impression that what I do defines who I am. I scrutinized my actions and behavior. I compared myself to others, inside and out of my fellowship, to see how I was doing. I quantified how I was studying my Bible, how often I prayed, my giving, my church attendance, etc. It was all about measuring up to The Standard of The Bible.

I've come to understand over the last year or two of that, intellectually anyway, that this is so incorrect, and obviously so. As I look again at this pattern, I see that there is no grace, or at least that grace is so marginal as to be dismissed. It becomes all about what I do, instead of what was already done for me, namely Jesus' death on a cross. It's the treadmill that has to be run, and at a certain pace, lest I get thrust off the end, lost forever. There is no stopping, no breaks, no rest, and my spiritual life becomes all about what I do and accomplish. Me, me, me.

I say I understand it, intellectually. You see I know that it's wrong thinking in my mind, yet my heart and emotions are still worrying about that treadmill. When I stop and think, that's OK then, Jesus paid it all for me, it's not up to me to do anything, then my heart gets antsy. It's saying, "But you have to …. You're not …. What about …. You're falling behind!" You see there is some truth to the treadmill. Scratch that. There's a truth that underlies the treadmill lifestyle. There is a standard in the Bible we are called to. We are called to be different, to be set apart. We are to watch our life and doctrine closely.

We are called to do some things and not do others. The fallacy is in the believing that our running, our acting, our doing, has any bearing whatsoever on our belonging to God. Yes we must run, act and do, but God loves us already and Jesus has saved us already, whether we run, act and do or not. (That last sentence bothers me a lot. I'm not 100% convinced that is true, but I'm not sure it's false either. Oy.)

So there is this battle in my heart and in my brain and it drives me crazy. I'm the kind of guy who wants to have it all figured out. For years I thought I did, and it was good. I just keep running and everything is fine. Now that I know that's not completely true – I can't run enough to be fine – I'm going crazy not knowing just how much I should run and when. Should I sit, should I stand, should I fight? There is no right answer, and that drives me nuts.

2 Comments

I completely understand - I have the same issues...

My favorite quote by Albert Einstein is "I want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details."

I have wanted to study it all, know it all, CONTROL it all. In the last 2 years it has come down to deciding who really is in control? Do I try and make my way - work out my salvation, or do I let myself be led by God (believe me - it is easy to say - and not as easy to do).
Do we stop being charitable, stop praying, stop running the race - Absolutely not, but we are saved by God's grace not by anything we could ever do.
Our closeness to God and Christ is what should motivate us to be like Him - to continue to run, not for the reward, but for the fact that we love Him....

We spent so much time telling people they weren't Christians because they didn't share their faith enough or read enough or go to church enough. And, we justified ourselves by the same critieria. And, I've known the scripture, "by their fruit you will recognize them" and remembered yesterday that why I finally studied the Bible it was because I was worn out from trying to do good and failing. Now I can bear fruit, (of the Spirit), by overcoming negativity, being positive, not gossiping, being pure, sharing my convictions, (gettting along with my MIL :)), etc. why? Because of God and His Spirit within me. This probably doesn't make sense, you know how my mind works, but it's a continual revelation to me. The Spirit of God within us guarantees our inheritance and we blind humans can see it's presence by the ability to change, be different, repent and do good in the name of Jesus. What a great and powerful gift from God.



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  • We spent so much time telling people they weren't Christians because they didn't share their faith enough or read enough or go to church enough. And, we justified ourselves by the same critieria. And, I've known the sc...

  • I completely understand - I have the same issues... My favorite quote by Albert Einstein is "I want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details." I have wanted to study it all, know it all, CONTROL it all. In the last...

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