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How Things Are. Not How They Look.

July 20, 2014

Waking up on this first morning of vacation, knowing that it is Sunday and we would not be attending church, I thought of listening to a sermon online.  I don’t do this as often as I’d like. But I’m rarely able to do just one thing at a time, and slow down enough to actually take something out of it.  So I listened to a sermon given by Tullian Tchividjian this morning, specifically his first sermon in the series he did from Romans.   It felt like he had given it back in January just for me to be able to listen to today.  I go through cycles in my life where I think that I have learned enough, grown enough, and am capable enough to be in control of everything and stop trusting God’s control and wisdom in my life.  This week and probably the past month are a clear sign of that.  I’ve stopped asking Jesus to be the desire of my heart, and I’ve stopped relying on His strength to push me.  As a result, everything came to a head this past Wednesday.  I literally woke up so overwhelmed and exhausted: physically, emotionally, and spiritually, that I was crying for an hour before I could pull myself together.  I made the mistake of calling John (yes, my new fiancé; blog on our engagement to follow) in hopes that he could ‘fix’ it.  Going outside of the grace, love, and mercy of Christ that I could find in the Word broke my heart.  So instead of using John to ‘fix’ me, I went to the Word and to my favorite devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  It seemed as if Chambers knew what my heart needed to know that morning, just as Tullian knew that I needed to keep hearing today.  Using scripture from Matthew 7, Chambers delineated how God doesn’t want us to rely on ourselves or our own wisdom, but wants us to ask Him for guidance, and He will give it to us.

I’m thankful that there are men and women who can break down the Gospel and the Word in ways that help me understand the person of Christ more, but I’m most thankful for what Jesus did.  Tchividjian’s message in his sermon reminded me that God isn’t looking for us to rely on ourselves or anything within us, but to recognize that our salvation had to come from Christ.

After listening to the sermon, I thought about my upbringing, and tweeted that, “As thankful as I am, for having grown up in a home where I was told to, ‘question everything,’ and ‘decide for myself what’s true,’ … I’m equally (if not more) thankful that the real Truth has been revealed to me, and is still being revealed to me every day.”  The overwhelming intellectual attitude that pervades the culture I grew up in, teaches that you should investigate the world around you and determine for yourself what truth is.  My parents, bless their hearts, encouraged this philosophy, and let me make my own decisions.  So for the most part, I incorporated their convictions and doctrines, almost without realizing it.  But when I went to college and started making my own convictions and doctrines (from the wisdom of the Gospel), my mom was less than pleased.  My beliefs were starting to stray from hers and that was more than she could handle.

In a discussion with a Southern Baptist’s Preacher’s kid (who is now a worship leader at the same church himself) and another friend whose family is SB, it was clear they had been raised in an environment where there was only one accepted truth: the Gospel.  Their parents taught and indoctrinated them from a young age.  While I agree with the truth they were taught, I still value the method with which I was able to come to the truth.  In our conversation the worship leader indicated he looked down on how my parents had raised me.  At first I got upset about it too, but then realized that it was the path God had lined up for me.  It also helped me recognize that you shouldn’t condemn someone for their upbringing.  Don’t ever criticize someone for something they don’t have control over.  It will hurt their heart and affect them more than you know.

Instead, offer an ear to listen to how someone was raised and ask them how it  has shaped them and what they have learned from it.  I have learned a ton; both for myself and for how I plan to raise my future children.  Asking someone where they are going is a far better idea than critiquing them on how they got there.  Care about how things are, not how things look.  That’s been my biggest critique of organized religion.  Catholics care about what you do, and Baptists care about how things look.  But Jesus?  Jesus cares about how your heart is. So … Who are you letting fix your heart?

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