Archive for February, 2009

Hopefully this will be a short post.

I was just pondering today why college life is so sanctifying. Here was one thought:

Transitioning from the CDS (a Christian high school) to college is a transition from a place where godliness is respected to a place where it is denounced (or worse, shrugged off). In college, your professors and most of your peers don’t care what you’ve been reading in your Bible lately or how your prayer life has been. Therefore, that part of me that wants to be admired for godliness is is being challenged by the Holy Spirit, who wants me to glorify God for His sake alone. It can be downright painful, and I think this is perhaps the downfall of many promising individuals. We’ve all seen it before. A teenager who is renowned for their devotion to God. They participate excitedly in church and join in discussions at small groups with vivid insights. They arrive early at every event and stay late to serve. They’re so godly. Then they hit college. Before you know it, they become the person people about whom people ask, “Hey, what ever happened to Bobby/Jill/Fill-in-the-blank.” Unfortunately, it’s so easy to fall in love with being admired among the church community, and without even realizing it, start to do the Christian things for esteem. Base your pursuit of godliness on others, and then suddenly go to a place where nobody values true godliness, and watch your faith crumble beneath you. I’m preaching to myself, because I know I’m so prone to wander in that direction. I don’t want to be “Bobby.”

I’ll leave it there. That’s my random thought of the day.

Father, give me a love for you that is independent of man’s approval. Give me a faith that continues even if reputation fails. Man’s approval is conditioned on my performance, while your approval is based on Christ’s. Please grant me wisdom to always remember which is reliable and sustaining. I want to please you in all things no matter who sees. Amen.

“Take all my cravings for vain recognition
Fleshly indulgence and worldly ambition
I want so much Lord to make You the focus
To serve You in secret and never be noticed

…Search me and know me I want to bring to You
A life that is holy and sanctified through You”
-Surrender All (Rich Dalmas)

I’m not sure if anyone still checks this, but I’m still here! I apologize, I haven’t written anything in a month, but I haven’t had a whole lot to say.

I’ve been enjoying God so much recently (the past week or two especially), which I am so grateful to be able to report. For quite some time, I was dealing with melancholy feelings. I felt dull, numb, motivated by little, striving for little, wandering about life half-heartedly like a spiritual wayfarer.

A couple weeks ago at caregroup, we discussed the topic of worldliness, and we went around the room to admit where, specifically, we’ve seen worldliness (love for the temporal world more than God) in our lives. Pastor Joel then charged us to take appropriate action, by God’s grace. As I considered, I realized Facebook was having a numbing effect on me. Facebook is a wonderful tool for staying in touch with people you may not otherwise stay in touch with, and I am certainly not advocating a negative view of Facebook itself. After that caregroup, however, I decided I was going to take a break from it, and I did for about a week and a half. It may seem simple, but I found it to be painful. I felt a compulsion to check it, to see what people are up to, if anyone’s tried to get in touch with me. Sad, pitiful, even egotistical? Yes. Signs of addiction/idolatry? Absolutely.

After breaking from Facebook for a little while and spending more time reading God’s word, praying, and worshiping Him, I began to see that I was letting Facebook occupy a place in my life that should be reserved for God alone, and which only God can fulfill. Instead of running to God for my joy, pleasure, contentment, satisfaction, peace, and fulfillment. Perhaps this sounds dramatic, even overkill. Does it sound like the “epitome of hyperbole” (Regan reference there ;)). Maybe you’re thinking, “Come on, Steve, lighten up. Sure, maybe you spend a little too much time on the computer, but hey, nobody manages their time perfectly. But idolatry? Turning to facebook for a sense of fulfillment? That sounds pretty ridiculous, pretty absurd.” You’d be exactly right. It is a ridiculous notion. Absurd, definitely. But it was true.

Later that week during my Facebook Fast, I was listening to my iPod and doing dishes. David Crowder came on with “Come Thou Fount.” The acoustic version drew my attention to the lyrics, and for the first time in a long time, tears started rolling down my eyes. I don’t cry a lot. In fact, before this, I couldn’t tell you the last time I did. But I had to walk out into the other room so nobody would see me and so I could have a few minutes. The second half of the song in particular were the ones that undid me.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger! I wandered, and he drew me. “He, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.” In this line, I was impressed with the fact that God “interposed” his precious blood to rescue me from danger. Not out of obligation, but of pure love. Once I understood this anew, the last verse made perfect sense and echoed my heart’s plea so harmoniously.

I am prone to wander. Prone, in fact, to leave the very God I love. This is what my idolizing of Facebook really comes down to. It was merely a symptom or manifestation of my desire for something other than God. It was reinforcing my natural bent toward self-sufficiency, apathy toward God, and complacency in my current state. Before my fast, I couldn’t figure out why I felt so dispassionate about God. I still loved him, I knew that, but my enthusiasm and passion were tremendously lacking. But I now realize it was, at least in part, because I wasn’t spending time getting to know God or to admire Him. Expecting to feel passionate about God without spending time communing with Him makes about as much sense as a husband spending every evening after work in front of the TV and expecting to increase in his love for his wife. As Albert Einstein says, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Praise God, He has faithfully shown me my error, and is granting grace to find my joy and fulfillment in Him alone.

I feel an excitement just speaking of these things. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that God has pulled me back to himself and given me a joy in Himself that was lacking for too long. What a gracious, merciful God we serve, and how worthy He is to be praised!

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.