Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Born With It

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

My friend Richard and I had lunch yesterday and, among other things, talked about how the churches we attend today are so different from those we attended as youth. We agreed how much more we love churches that go out to find seekers wherever they may be, rather than the traditional stoic church in which you were frowned upon if you did not show up dressed in your Sunday best. I honestly remember overhearing someone say she didn’t think “we” ought to allow hippies (this was in the ‘70s) to come to church until they cut their hair and put on a suit.

What folly it is, to use the church to separate ourselves from others, to hold ourselves up high as if we are superior to the unchurched. Isn’t there ample warning against this kind of conduct in the Bible? I think in reference to the Pharisees? Yet we do it anyway, look down on the sinners, failing to see that the very act of doing so is in itself a sin.

Like Richard said, we don’t “commit” sin, we have sin; it is part of our blood and bones. Therefore, we cannot become clean, or without sin, by washing our hair, dressing ourselves up, stopping smoking or drinking, lusting for others, telling lies, and ridding yourself of any other vice you might believe you can conquer.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t strive to conquer your vices, instead it is only to remind you that you cannot make yourself to be without sin. You cannot rid yourself of what you inherited from Adam, you were born with sin.

So what can you do? Simple – remember this: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast, (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I enjoy meeting with Richard, he is far better read in the Bible than I am, and I benefit from his wisdom as he reacts to the things I, usually in ignorance, say. Just yesterday I found myself explaining, justifying, an opinion when he smiled and said, “I’d like to hear what you think after you read the writings of Paul.” That’s what I love about the guy – he has hope for me.

An update on the ministries I’m working with – I have my first “assignment,” to meet with a non-profit that is bringing Bible study into public schools. I’m not yet sure how they operate, I assume they sponsor Bible Clubs, and I’m eager to learn more. I’m meeting with two leaders and nine students for breakfast this Friday to hear what the teens think about the work of the ministry and their own God stories. I’m excited just thinking about it.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

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