What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God’s love, a love we don’t even have to earn.”
~ Madeleine L’Engle (emphasis mine)~
I've been observing a debate over the last few days. The issues are complex. The personalities are strong. And, even when they are debating whether or not they are lashing out, at times that is exactly what they are doing. Honestly, it is tiring to observe and I'm sure it is even more tiring inside the circle. But at the heart of what everyone is discussing is "how do we discuss difficult issues about Christianity and still keep people comfortable?"
I don't believe that you can.
And that is spoken from the heart of a people pleaser.
In order to grapple with the depths of what Christianity is all about, you have to get messy. This quote says that we can keep it tidy or we can experience the wildness of what God did for us. More and more in my life I see where I have tried to keep Christianity tidy. I have tried to tie it up in a pretty box with a pretty bow and make people comfortable. And I have wondered why my relationship with God becomes stale.
It is stale because I let it become stagnant and comfortable.
But the heart of Christianity was never comfortable. The heart of Christianity is that wild expression of love that took place on a cross at Calvary. It was not pretty. It was not cleaned up. And it most certainly was not comfortable. But it was exactly what I, along with every other sinner who has ever walked the face of this earth needed. It was a path to salvation.
Scott Krippayne sings in "Tell it Like it Is,"
If you wanna tell the truth
you gotta find someone who'll listen
then expect some opposition
'cause being honest is a risk
so i guess you'll have to choose
is the trouble you uncover
worth the freedom you discover
when you tell it like it is
Receiving salvation is as easy as believing Jesus is our way to heaven. But after that the Christian life is far from easy. It is a sacrifice to daily follow Jesus.
It takes real time and real devotion on our part to learn more of the way of Jesus. The truth is, real dialogue that grapples with what God did for us often leaves more questions that answers. We will never wake up one morning and realize that God has miraculously given us all the answers. He won't. Instead he wants us to learn his ways by walking with him, reading his word, interacting with other believers and serving others.
But when we have grappled with it, when we have embraced the wildness of God's love for us there is one thing that is certain--it is never stale.
When I was a kid, my mom went almost a year that she made all of our bread. Then one day, she put a plain loaf of white bread on the table. We all asked where the bread was. After eating fresh for so long, store bought tasted stale. That is how I want my walk with God to be. I want to experience the freshness and the depth of the relationship so intensely that the moment a counterfeit or safe Jesus is presented I want to detect it as stale. I don't want to ever embrace a stale faith again.
Are you experiencing the wildness of God's love? Take the risk. The rewards are amazing.
Father, thank you for loving me in such an amazing wild deep way that you were not willing to allow me to stay lost in sin. Thank you for Jesus' sacrifice that opens the way to a relationship with you. Thank you that he did not choose the comfortable over the necessary. Help me to abandon myself to the relationship with you. Alert me when someone is presenting a stale faith to me. Give me the courage to reject the safe and tidy for the wild and messy. And help me to show that depth of relationship to others. Amen.
Patricia is our hostess this week. Please come and be blessed.