"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him in the midst of loss, not prosperity." --John Piper

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Missing the Mark?

Chapter 5 focuses on Mary and Martha. He states that "One who apparently 'got' this lesson was the apostle Paul." (Page 68)

Yes he did. He got that Jesus was everything. No matter what the circumstance, Paul handled it in such an amazing way. Paul walked with God. His life's goal was to know Jesus more. For Paul, I don't think it was a matter of reading "X" number of verses or chapters, but a living and breathing day-to-day relation with Christ. Paul had spent years in the Scriptures but until he had a run in with Christ on the road to Damascus, it did not mean much. But once he met Jesus, he was changed forever. Mary sat at Jesus' feet while Martha got busy with the tasks that "had to be done," but didn't really. Was Jesus going to put on a white glove and look for dust over the doorway? I think that one of the greatest illustrations of modern Christian thought is found right there, that before we come to Jesus, everything in our life has to be squeaky clean. Mary knew different. She got it right. Personal devotions, church attendance, tithing, prayer, forgiveness for others, and the list goes on. Without a love for God it is meaningless, merely a clangning gong or noisy cymbol. "There is no greater thing than to listen to the sound of you voice." (Sound of Your Voice, Third Day - just happen to be listening to it now...powerful!)

Which leads me into a second thought from this chapter. "A basic logical theorem says that if your starting premise is incorrect, then every subsequent conclusion will have a high percentage of also being incorrect." He later says, "In the Christian life, the Bible is your basic premise." But what if, just like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, you approach the Bible with a flawed premise? It is my humble opinion that many in America have done just that, we have made it all about us, what God does for us, how wonderful we are, what we can bring to God, etc. Romans 12:3 warns us not to "think of (ourselves) more highly than (we) ought to think, but to think with sober judgment." But how often do we blow by the real meaning of such verses because of the discomfort we find there?

He wraps up the chapter by saying that "the Bible is not a safe book." Agreed. If we look at it from the worlds point of view, following Jesus is not a safe thing at all, but we certainly don't preach that. Come and join our church, we all love each other here, and there are no problems here. This is the greatest, safest place on earth, with some of the most wonderful people on earth. But is that what Jesus called people to, safety and comfort? Is that the example that He gave? Is that what it means to pick up our cross? Remember, "if your starting premise is incorrect, then every subsequent conclusion will have a high percentage of also being incorrect."

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