Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Who Put Ice In My Milk?

I like milk. In my opinion, milk is its absolute best when it’s really cold. However, at no time do I think that it is ever appropriate to put ice in milk. My reason: Inevitably, the ice is going to melt and then my milk will be watered down. And I don’t like watered down milk.

I am a Christian. And as of late, I have adhered to a Christianity that is weak and pathetic. I worship a God however, who is anything but weak and pathetic. So, what’s the deal?

Before diagnosing the problem, I think it’s important to express what I believe it means to actually be a Christian.

I believe that Jesus actually died on a cross and literally came back from the dead to redeem me, rescue me and set me in right standing with God the Father, in order that, I could now live a life that is wholly surrendered to him and is at the same time lived to the fullest. I believe that living a Christian life is about seeking God’s will, not my own. I believe that being a Christian means that I get to live a life empowered by Jesus’ very own spirit and bring love and acceptance, hope and light, redemption and do-over’s to a broken and busted up world (people.)

I love that idea. I believe that idea. I just don’t live in the reality of it like I want to.

Why not?

Because there is ice in my milk.  

Somewhere along my journey as a follower of Jesus, the Christianity that I adhere too got ice in it and it's starting to melt.

When I read the New Testament, I read about a Jesus who asked people to abandon everything to follow him. He asked people to put aside their own ideas and dreams, their own agendas and plans and he asked them to pick up his ideas and dreams and agenda and plans.

It seems that lately, I have just been focused on what I think and want and have really been leaving Jesus out of my life equation. How do I want to spend my money? How do I want to use my time? What do I consider appropriate giving to the poor? What do I consider healthy boundaries for my friendships? What do I want? What do I need?

It’s not just me though. It’s as if someone came in and slipped ice in a whole bunch of our glasses.

These days I see Christians spending so much time and energy justifying why one more glass of wine is fine, even though it sends them over the top or debating exactly what constitutes sexually immoral behavior. I hear Christians justifying why it’s okay to gossip about and usurp authority if that authority’s opinion or action is thought- by them- to be wrong. I hear Christians arguing that tithing is Old Testament and that we are no longer bound by the law but should be giving cheerfully out of a grateful heart. The problem is, they barely and rarely give anything away….but at least they’re cheerful.

We do these things because we want to serve God on our terms, not his. So, we take what we like from his teachings and apply those things and the things that are too hard, or too demanding, or too ridiculous…we rationalize and justify them away. It’s really brilliant and I am sad to say that even I have been hooked.

Recently, I worked a few things around in my budget to create a little more cash flow. I quickly found some great ways to use the extra cash. The problem was, I didn’t take the time to ask God about how he would like to use the extra cash.


Because there’s ice in my milk.

A few days ago, I was driving around downtown when I was stopped at a red light where a homeless man was standing with a sign that read ‘Homeless. Please help.’ I had a sense inside of me and I had a $10 bill within my reach. Literally, my hand was only inches from grasping it in my pocket, but instead I decided to ignore the internal movement and I unlocked gazes with the man.


Because there’s ice in my milk.

Recently, I wanted to give a friend a piece of my mind. I wanted to explain why they were wrong and express my opinion in a powerful way. It didn’t even cross my mind to first have the conversation with God and ask him how to handle the situation.


Because there’s ice in my milk.

Lately, I’m pretty tired of it and I don’t want to live a life that is all talk. Don’t get me wrong. I do some walking with my talk. I actually do experience some life that is empowered by God’s spirit. It’s just that I think there’s more and I want in on it. I want to be in that place that truly says with all of my heart that all of my money belongs to God. That all of my time belongs to God. That all of my family belongs to God. That all of my possessions belong to God. I want to live a life that seeks to serve God and his kingdom first before I consider how it will affect or impact me and my comfortable life.

I’m a work in progress. I’m on a journey. And right now, I’m asking Jesus to show me just how much ice has been slipped into my milk.

If you’re reading this and feel like ice got slipped into your milk along the way and you no longer want it there….I welcome the company on the journey.

So, may the grace of Jesus be upon each of us and may his spirit indwell and empower us to move and live according to his ways and his truths. May our hearts be consumed by his love and acceptance and may our lives reflect Jesus and not some man-made, sideways, goofed up Christianity. May we live lives that are wholly surrendered to the ways and words of Jesus; lives that are full of passion, grace, mercy, love, peace, beauty and most of all life. And, finally, may we come to truly understand what we just prayed.