Thursday, July 5, 2007

My Christian Life: Confessions of Who I Am

Somewhere along the line, we as Christians screwed up. I don't just mean in terms of sin, thought that would certainly align with the ideals opposite of what Christians are called to be. Somehow, we got the idea that we are to be perfect. Perfection is the standard set for us by God, exemplified through Christ, but that's not quite what I'm talking about here. I mean perfect in the way that the outside world, be it secular or those beside us in the pew on Sunday morning perceive us. Perfect in the sense not that my shirt is ironed and my shoes shined, but in the sense that we live our lives flawlessly, or more so that we should give the appearance that we do.

Far too long I've given in to the lie that Christians are to hide in their corners with their sin, not letting anyone know it, and put on a face like they know exactly what they are doing, why they are doing it, and where they should be doing it. We are taught to bundle up troubles, frustrations, questions, and sins into a ball and stuff it deep down, so no one knows about it.

The cold reality is this: we are sinners. Christians are not now and never will be perfect. I've all too often led a life contrary to scripture by my need to be perfect, so that you won't see the scars, the bruises, the flaws, the ugly parts of my life.

So there are certainly times in our life we need to confess. We need to clear air on some issues we've struggled with. I have a few that my life has regurgitated that sicken me to this day...

  1. I don't really like church. I know that sounds odd, seeing as how I've spent 26 years of Sundays basically inside the walls of some church. It would be easy to chalk it up to my childhood, basically spending 2-3 evenings a week in church. I think it's more so a lacking sense of community. I don't know if I've ever been a part of a church where I personally felt really connected. Sure, there are those where socially it was great. All my friends were there, so my comfort wasn't tested. It was a simple need met: companionship. But eventually that fades, and isn't the real purpose of a church body anyway. I long for a church with true community: the type where sins can be confessed without fear of judgement, questions can be asked without fear of being undermined, and debates can be held without arrogance or fear. A church that truly meets the needs of everyone else, while still maintaining a missional sense for the hurting outside world. But on top of my desire for that, I also must confess that I don't play a big part in making the church that way. Perhaps I'm not using my gifts properly, or I'm not in tune with God. Either way, my 3 feet of comfort space is still existing on Sunday mornings, and until I (willingly) tear that down, I'll maintain a lackluster view of church, to no one's fault but my own.
  2. I've been judgement-oriented rather than grace-oriented. Looking back now, I hate my high school self. I hate the fact that I concerned myself more with figuring out the sins of others than I did repenting of my own sins. I hate the fact that I couldn't look at my peers with love because I was too busy condemning their every move. I hate the crusades I went on of breaking CDs, trashing pop culture, and lingering around with an imaginary picket sign warning off all sinners. I was the same as everyone around me. Just because I wasn't having sex gave me no right to point fingers and condemn those who were. How I wish I could take those days back, and replace my condemning thoughts with deep prayer. How I wish I had preached grace instead of fundamental theology.
  3. I know more sports facts, music lyrics, and movie quotes than I do scripture. I'm sure many of us do. We can sing a song we last heard 5 years ago as if we had written it ourselves, but we can't quote anything beyond John 3:16 from the Bible. This is a poor confession of mine. I certainly have failed to practice not only meditation of scripture, but memorization of scripture. I feel as if I know so little about the words I claim to love so much. It's certainly something that requires more immediate attention from myself.
  4. I'm not really serving God like I should. It's hard. It's as if I use my job as a crutch, when really it doesn't necessarily hold me back anymore than anything else does. I want to get my hands dirty. I want to serve others. I feel like I just don't know how anymore. It came so easy in college, being surrounded by so many energetic on-fire students who wanted to serve. We went door-to-door taking out people's trash for them, and cleaning their bathrooms! Now, it's almost a chore to throw my own garbage away. Oh Lord, that you would enstill in me the fire again to serve you!
  5. I don't pray. Not nearly enough. I write down prayer requests, then lose them the next day. I've got a card in my wallet with names to pray for, yet seldom pull it out. I've got more time in my day than I need, yet I don't spend it talking to God. No wonder sometimes He feels like a stranger to me.

These are some of my issues. I say MY issues, because I'm not here to confess anyone else's downfalls. These are mine. I take full ownership. And part of maturing as a Christian is recognizing the things keeping you from God and repenting of those things.

Oh, that I would truly seek Him in a way that man hungers for food and thirsts for water! That I would love Him like a man does his beautiful bride! That I would trust Him like the morning sun and the April rains! That I would bless Him, for He has blessed me abundantly, in spite of who I am.

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