Ramblings of a fringe disciple…
So I don’t really know if this blog will turn out to be one cohesive post or not… but here we go.
Lately I’ve had a lot of random musings going through my mind. There is the never ending yearning of my heart for more. I can never really shake it. No matter how close to God I get, or far from Him, it never goes away. The yearning for more turns into thoughts of “How?”. How do I get more? Then it turns to “What?”. What do I want more of? Miracles? Signs? Wonders? Youth to minister to? Money? Friends? Authority? Then it turns to “Why?”. Why do I want those things? If I want Miracles, why do I want those? For my own glory or God’s? So my name will become well known or God’s? If I want any of those things, why do I truly want them? As these things swirl around in my mind I usually arrive at a simple conclusion. I want more of God. I want more of Him because I want to be more like Him. I want more of His character in my life. I want more of His heart and less of mine. I want more of God in my youth’s lives. I want them to want more of God. I want my community to want Him more. I want revival to break out in my small town and God to be magnified in our minds and hearts. Then I go back to the first question of “How?”. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is what has been keeping me stuck. Because for me, the answer is holiness. Not that I hadn’t been walking in a level of holiness before, but as I grow closer to God, He reveals more things to me that need to be dealt with. Things like my priorities in how I spend my time. If I really am so passionate about wanting more of God, then why does how I spend my time not back that up? Why is it easier for me to spend 2 1/2 hours watching TV than even a half hour of that time pursuing God? Why is it easier for me to flush 4 hours of video games down the drain and barely whisper an “I love You” to the Savior of my soul, the amazing King of the Universe, the fearsome Lion of Judah?
The reason I basically denoted that I was a “fringe disciple” in the title of this post is because I sometimes wonder if that is what I am. The beginning verses of Matthew 5 in The Message paraphrase always cause me to think:
“When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions.”
I often times wonder, would I have climbed that hillside with him? Or would I have thought that it was too much trouble, or that I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, or that I had heard enough of Him for one day, or would I have simply lost interest and went on my merry little way? Of course I hope and pray that I would’ve climbed up that hillside with Him! But the truth is, if I were to answer based on my day-to-day relationship with Jesus on an average week, I may not have even bothered. And I would’ve missed out on one of the most encouraging, life-giving messages one could hear – especially when you consider that it came from the mouth of the Son of God.
“This is what he said: You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are-no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘carefull,’ you find yourselves cared for. You’re blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that-count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens-give a cheer, even!-for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”
That passage is almost like a recipe for what it takes to draw close to God, and yet somehow, those who received that recipe, already had all the ingredients because they climbed with Jesus. This is holiness in my mind. I was talking to my pastor the other day and mentioned to him that I am going to be preaching on holiness soon. And he told me, “You know, to me holiness is single-heartedness. A purity of focus.” And he mentioned the scripture Psalm 27:4.
“The one thing I ask of the LORD— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.
It really does sum it up. Jesus told us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven above all else and all the other ‘stuff’ would work itself out. That is it in its simplest form – a singular focus on God. One of my favorite books to turn to however to help me check my heart is “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. In it he does a couple chapters on truly living a holy, obsessed, lovesick, lifestyle. One is called “The Profile of the Lukewarm” and the other is “The Profile of the Obsessed”. I’ve read this book a couple times before, but I like to turn to it once in a while and see what areas I’m still convicted in.
Anyways… I don’t know if that all made sense or not. But my heart truly is set on a pilgrimage towards my Lord and Savior. And I am determined to no longer let the things of this world deter me from pursuing Him and allowing His holiness to cover me so that I can be holy, even as He is holy.
Please feel free to comment, I love feedback. I love to hear how God is challenging others in their life.
P.S. Usually when I write something, there is a song that captures my heart for that season. Thus, the Misty Edwards song at the top.