Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Judge not...

I saw the movie, Son of God, the other night.  It was good.  I really enjoyed it and was inspired by it.  Of course there were some inconsistencies with the gospel account (which movie portraying Jesus has not had inconsistencies?), but the message was on track: Jesus came to seek and save the lost, gave his life as the perfect lamb to be sacrificed for us, and rose from the dead.  It kind of troubles me that some are adamantly opposed to seeing the movie.  These are not atheists I am talking about or those resistant to the Christian faith.  They are Christ followers.  Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion or conviction, but let’s make sure our convictions line up across the board.  This is a movie about Jesus.  It isn’t heretical or blasphemous.  If you know your Bible, you will see that some dialogue and events are not word-for-word accurate.  If you don’t you’re your Bible, the movie just may inspire you to go and read it more.  If you refuse to see it because of inconsistencies with the Bible, may I challenge you to ask yourself these questions:  What inconsistencies with the Bible are in my life?  And what am I doing about them?  Am I willing to watch movies or t. v. shows that are full of immorality; bad language, lots of skin, adultery, senseless violence, deceit, etc?  Am I more tolerant of bad character and worldly morality than I am of some poetic license in a movie about Jesus?  Am I more vocal and outwardly critical of the movie, Son of God, than I am about other ungodly movies that I have not only watched but endorsed?  As Christians, this cannot be.  We are hypocrites if we condemn this movie and condone movies that not only are void of Christian influence but are blatantly immoral.  As Christians, we need to have a unified front for things that are godly and against those that are immoral.  If we chide the Christian movie that may not have awesome special effects or Oscar-worthy acting, then we are critical and judgmental.  If we choose not to see it, that is no one’s choice but ours, but let’s don’t berate it unless we also plan to hold the same standard of scrutiny over other movies, television shows…and our lives.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Feed Me!

This body of flesh does NOT want to die!  We are so "attached" to it.  And it puts up a hell of a fight when we deny it.  This body wants to feel good.  It wants to be powerful.  It wants to be right.  It wants to be first.  It wants to be dressed nicely, fed delicious food, stimulated by touch and excited by sights and sounds.  This flesh is sensory driven!  We want to feel good, and we want our senses to feel satisfied...if not indulged.  
What drives your actions?  Why do you find yourself perusing the pantry two hours after eating dinner?  Is it your tummy that’s empty...or your heart?  Why do you reach for the radio or your ipod in the car?  Does 20 minutes of solitude make you restless?  If so, what’s behind the restlessness?  Could it be unsettling thoughts that are normally quieted by outside noise?  Why do I respond impatiently to people?  I have a “right” to feel respected and heard, don’t I?  Why when we find ourselves with an hour of free time do we flip on the t.v. or laptop rather than enjoy conversation with family or read a good book?  Could it be that we default to a more passive behavior that requires less engagement of our minds or hearts? 

The body cries, “Feed me!”  “Comfort me!”  “Entertain me!”  But it is a fiendish cry.  One with a hellish origin.  A cry which originates from an insatiable appetite.  And only results in cries for more, and more often.  We cannot say, “One last time and that’s all.”  Our flesh will not be satisfied with “one more.” 
Yet in denying our flesh, we are not to numb our senses.  God gives us good things to enjoy.  We are not expected to live in a monastery and deprive ourselves of all good things, which is asceticism.  Even harsh treatment of the body is limited toward stopping indulgence.  In fact, we can swing toward strict discipline and depriving ourselves and still be overly focused on the body.

Then what do we do?!
Do not despair!  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  He will deliver us.  Our focus is not on our bodies; our wants, our drives, our rights, our sin, our failures.  Our focus is on Jesus.  We lift our eyes off of us and fix our gaze on him.  With eyes on Jesus, we endure the death of our flesh.  We nail it to the cross.  Daily…sometimes hourly.  When sin comes knocking, we don’t answer. 

We have agreed to give all to him.  We seek every day to please him and to let him hold our hand.  We bring our hearts to him empty, seeking to be filled by him.  Open wide your mouth.  Taste and see that the Lord is good. 

The desires of our flesh are denied, not to make us miserable but in order that the Spirit of love and life can take control.  We defer to Jesus since he knows what is best for us.  Our fleshly feeding frenzies will be abandoned to  rich, spiritual food that satisfies.  Our self-improvement, self-actualization, self-gratification, self-focus and self-abasement will give way to the gentle but firm hand of the Potter.  He has been there, and he knows what we are going through.  Only his nail-scarred hands can make us into his likeness.