Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Journey

Matthew 7:14
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Luke 13:24
He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.

Part of our consternation and difficulty in discovering who God is and what it means to know Him is the length of the journey and the “carry on” restrictions.
We travel heavy as humans and our culture of self, me, now, self, first , me, mine, self only amplifies and magnifies the load. We have elevated self-esteem and self -sufficiency as character traits so much that humility, gratitude, and community have become discarded as hindrances to achieving what is really important: our best possible self. We have all this “weight” of need and want for things and activities that serve as distractions from what we are really longing for;
the answer to who God is. Jesus came to tell us what is necessary, what is essential and what we need to discard.
The journey to knowing God is partially about examining who we are and what we have “picked up” along the way. This is by no means easy or simple because from childhood we have been learning to protect our self , to guard our perception of what we are. We have built an idol of ourselves that we carry around in our minds and hearts to worship our good qualities and admirable traits. God’s word puts us on our heels and we protest the “truth” that there is nothing good or admirable in us, especially our hearts and minds. So, our first obstacle, and the most difficult “carry on” we cling to is our self: our perception of what and who we are, and most of us are dragging it along, with the knowledge that it is too heavy and oversized. We are standing on line ( love the British) with our I-pods on detach, texting irrelevant babble, looking for a Latte and wondering why nothing is really changing in our lives. We would rather do anything except open our self file and examine who we really are in spite of the fact that the signs
all indicate that our “carry on” will not make it through the gate.

So, granted that we realize that we have to lighten up to make “weight” and
we are going to get around to that reformatting of our self (someday), we still have a journey and we are clueless on the starting point, rest areas, exits. If you want to make good time you may want to go ahead and start on the self cleaning thing because the wind resistance is ridiculous and it is like trying to row against a sail in a strong headwind: you are going backwards. Until we have addressed ourselves and have a “word”’ perspective on our worth and value without Jesus Christ as our intercessor, we are not really on the road at all. The weight of self-importance, self-righteousness, self-centeredness is not going to let us get started, its too heavy and burdensome. So remember, we are still working on getting to the dollar menu self and we can no longer be content with our Golden Corral self that we are so fond of and lets proceed.

Our GPS (God Positioning System)

The other part of our journey that gives us problems is that we don’t want to use the map, the owner’s manual, service recommendations, right fuel, etc. WE
are driving and we can find our way. Part of our self- reliance is that we don’t need or want help or instruction; we can do it. Delusions of adequacy.
If our “self” has been a hindrance, our lack of direction or willingness to ask is an even bigger obstacle. God’s word is the source of truth, the atlas for time and space, the version of reality that is real. It is His communication to us about how to find Him and we still will not consult it. It has all the information we need to determine where we are, who we are, what we need, what obstacles to avoid. We still don’t want to use it. “this is all messed up….what’s that verse about not mixing in with the world, being separate or something?” we mutter as something goes badly for us and we are clueless. God tells us to attach the Word to our heads, to know it and our journey will be smoother but we still don’t want to use it. We don’t want to use it. Strange really, don’t you think?
Having God’s word as our map and travel guide is essential to understanding our relationship with Him and with one another. It is also filled with “eye-witness”
accounts of people who experienced great blessing or tremendous sorrow depending on how they received and acted on God’s instruction. Wouldn’t it make sense to know the things that disappoint God by learning where others have failed and by avoiding their mistakes. Faithful study of the Bible will show us how to live a life that pleases God, keep us off the wrong roads and make us servants who can help others who are struggling to figure out life. Just like the GPS in your car, the word will show you where you are in the journey and how to proceed safely and expediently to your destination: an intimate knowledge of who God is and what He wants for your life. Jesus told us, the way is narrow and many will try and enter through the broad gate that leads to destruction. Why risk that result for your life when the word is clear about how to avoid that end. Be honest about who you are and realize you don’t know who God is. Ask Him to show you who you really are and who you could be. Discard the heaviness and falseness of being the center of your own world and look at the heart of the one who made the world. Break out the word and get a hunger to find out who God is calling you to be; the narrow way is not always easy, not always scenic, but it is absolutely the best and only way.

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