Well, I'm still reading. More like devouring. In case I forget to say this, YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK! 'Mkay? Especially since right now it's on CRAZY sale at Amazon!!! (Wish I had gotten this great price.)
"Too Hungry For Words: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Gospel"
I'm one of those people who get easily overwhelmed by life, I think. I spend a lot of time worrying about this or that and wondering how I can fix things so they'll work more smoothly. Why do I have this overpowering urge to retreat and be all by myself instead of wanting to cuddle with children? Why can't I stop reacting (rather than responding) to those children? How can I better keep up with the laundry? Why are my counter tops always so cluttered? Which brings in shame. I expect my oldest child to make his bed, but mine's not made. I have stashes of chocolate hidden away for myself I have no intention of sharing. I should have followed through with these (many) things I volunteered to do. I am so unorganized! I could add to this list all day long, and it would still not cover it all. All this stuff that weighs me down??? It can be what causes me to sink to the bottom of the pool and drown, or it can make me keenly aware of my incredible need for Jesus. Daily. Every stinkin' moment.
The world wants to tell me otherwise. The world wants to sell me solutions in the form of books, workshops, blogs, and desktop calendars. I mean, those things are not inherently bad or anything. Heaven knows a timely workshop on organization tips can be just what a frazzled momma needs. But, in general, our culture, specifically the American culture, teaches us we can be self-made, self-realized, and self-improved.
"Certainly there are steps we can take to make ourselves better."
I have to admit, this way of thinking is something I have to FIGHT every single day!! Because I am naturally a fixer-type person. Maybe you are, too. It's my personality. I like puzzles, math problems, and someone coming to me for advice about something. Because...I like to see the problem solved. I enjoy the conquering of said problem very, very much. My mom once said that she would rather wait until a room is totally wrecked and then totally clean it up (even if it takes all day) than to clean a little here and a little there each day. Why? Because something about accomplishing that huge task feeds something within her. And in a way, I get that. It's why I make lists. It's why I tend to be a wee bit manic depressive energy-wise: going from a borderline depression (doing nothing) to a crazy cleaning fool! I suddenly get this "Take charge!" attitude and get with it. Of course, I never finish. I always fizzle out. I never have nearly the energy required to take on the monumental task I've attempted. And that, more often than not, sends me right back into the so-called depression again.
And I'm a believer!!! I KNOW this is silly, unnecessary bouncing back-and-forth. I KNOW I can rest in Jesus. Imagine the unbeliever. All this constant promoting of our self-esteem and our self-worth our culture is so apt to do leads the unbeliever away from the Cross. The world tells her she's great just the way she is and that if she's not, she can fix it (with the help of somebody, something, or some program, of course). But what's the truth? The truth is that something is missing here. And that is an awareness of our incredibly hopeless state. Hopeless, that is, without Jesus.
I am nothing and nobody. Jesus is all that is worthy since the beginning of time to the very end of time! Who am I?! What can I do?! But deep, deep down, if we're really being honest with ourselves, we ALL believe we can fix many of our troubles ourselves.
What?! Your house won't sell? Then you should do this, this, and this. What?! Your child won't obey? Then do this, this, and this. What?! You don't have a job? Then go here, here, and here. What?! You're angry at so-and-so?! Then read this book and watch this program...and don't forget to go to counseling.
Nobody ever says, "Do nothing. What can you possible do to fix this? This, like everything else, is only within God's power and according to His will. Leave it alone and wait." Like I said before, doing something is not really the problem at all. But leaving God out of it. That is the problem. Because what it does is it leads us to believe we really can better ourselves. That we really can "be a better me and experience (our) best life now." (Hmmm...that sounds vaguely and sickeningly familiar.)
"My life is not going right, but God loves me and has a plan to fix my life. I simply need to follow certain steps, think certain things, and check off certain boxes, and then I am good."
So, again, put this frame of mind on someone who is not a believer.
You can do it. You can have this now. You just have to put your mind to it. You just have to follow these steps. You're going to be amazed at what you can accomplish.
It can be dangerous. In fact, it can lead to a lot of people going through "the steps" to become a Christian but not even realizing what they're signing up for. Or who this God of the Bible really is; that He is a wrathful one who hates sin. Our culture wants us to forget about how frightening our God can be in His omnipotent power! Our culture wants us to view Him as One who needs US to "surrender" and "come to Him" and to "accept Him."
"We have reduced him to a poor, puny Savior who is just begging for us to accept him. Accept him? Do we really think Jesus needs our acceptance?"
Some years ago there was a brief movement in our area all about "experiencing our best lives now." That kinda thing. The main point of it was that Jesus is your friend. And while that, in itself, is not unbiblical or wrong, it left an incomplete picture of who Christ really is. The power He has. The picture of Him as a mighty warrior who slaughters His enemies. (See Revelation 19) The unbelieving masses need the complete picture! Because total surrender is required. We need to know what we're signing on for.
People, responding in droves, have "prayed the prayer," "accepted Christ," and/or "walked the aisle." But not every one will enter the kingdom of heaven. Not even every religious person. Not even every person who calls himself "Christian." Not EVEN every one who's "prayed the prayer"! Jesus Himself said "many" will tell Him of all the things they've done for Him, but He will say to them, "I never knew you." (See Matthew 7:21-23.) Walking the aisle one time doesn't get you into the kingdom of Heaven. Nor does going to church each and every Sunday for the rest of your life. KNOWING GOD and BELIEVING GOD. That's what proves you are the real deal. And if you KNOW GOD and BELIEVE GOD, you will do whatever He asks of you at whatever cost.
Do you "want Him so much that (you) abandon everything else to experience Him"?
If you're not there yet, this picture of what Christ did for you might change your perspective:
"All God's holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on Him (...) One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden that dam was breached, and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God, and when he had downed the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, 'It is finished.'"
That is Jesus Christ, our Savior. He doesn't beg us to come to Him. He already came down to us. He doesn't need US. It is us who need HIM. Desperately. We're hopeless and powerless without Him. "He is mighty to save!" He deserves our everything!
You can read my Chapter One response here.This and other blogger responses to Chapter Two are linked up with Marla Taviano.
**All quotes, unless noted otherwise, are from David Platt's book.