there were people like me...(1 of 2)
In youth group, we talked about how God wanted us to live a pure life-abstaining from drugs, sex, alcohol, etc. God wanted us to obey our parents joyfully and share the gospel and serve people across the world. But I felt like I had this pocket Jesus. A Jesus I could pull out at will when I needed help. A Jesus that I could grasp, and comprehend, and understand. A Jesus that was easy.
In the Sunday sermons, it seemed as if the things that were presented were packaged in this user friendly format. It seemed as if things were marketed up in order to attract the consumer-it seemed like a business. I can remember one sermon series entitled "10 Habits of Highly Effective People." Sounds like a motivational series right? It was actually a series on the 10 commandments. It provoked me that we would switch the word 'habit' for 'commandment.' It was as if these were suggestions to follow if you wanted to be a good person, instead of laws that were given to the Israelites in order to show them their need for a Savior.
Also, I was so very frustrated by the songs we would sing. I was so very tired of singing about myself-what I was going to do, what I had done, what I wanted.
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what Ior
Faithfulness is what I need.
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what.
You want from me.
Come, now is the time to worshipThe above songs aren't bad or sinful by any means. But they are man focused. And isn't it always the time to worship? It feels like we are singing to each other, about ourselves. Instead we should sing to our Lord and Savior about Himself. I didn't want to sing about me. I am dirty and unclean and wretched. I wanted to sing about God-who is perfect and holy and looks on me with love, when He used to look upon me as an object of wrath.
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Also, I was tired of singing songs that were just "almost" biblically correct.
Crucified, laid behind a stoneI know a lot of the frustration came from differences in doctrine. But I just didn't think that Christ was thinking about me, above all, when He was upon the cross. I think He was thinking about His Father's glory above all. I think He was thinking about what was being accomplished for the Kingdom above all.
You lived to die, rejected and alone
Like a rose, trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
You might be thinking I am crazy. You might be thinking that I am legalistic and over analyzing and over thinking. Trust me, my best friend thinks this about me often! :-) (And it is something that I have to be cautious of. And I love her for cautioning me time and time again.)
But I look at it this way. If Susie has never been to my church before, and then comes one Sunday. Perhaps she is called to respond to the Gospel, which she does obediently by repenting and believing that day. Now, say the first song she sings as a believer says "You thought of me above all." This causes her to think of HER importance. Of HER worth. Of HER good deeds. It's subtle, but trust me it's there and it's dangerous. I think the achilles heel of Christianity today is the believer that thinks he or she is good and therefore DESERVES salvation. It's a slippery theological path.
So all this mumble jumble to say that I was frustrated. And my friends at my church back home listened to me, and they understood what I was saying, but they thought I was over thinking. That I just needed to let it go, and not focus on the bad stuff, but rather the good stuff.
Recently, I myself questioned a friend on this. We were at an event where they were asking people to give money so that they could go take the gospel to unreached people. I didn't feel so led at that moment because I don't agree with everything they stand for. Then, for a minute, I thought maybe that was wrong. Maybe it was ok if it wasn't 100% truth, so long as it was mostly truth. So I asked this friend if perhaps I should give. If perhaps it would be better for a watered down gospel to go out than for no gospel at all. And his response resonated in my heart, and confirmed what I had been thinking at first.
He said "Look at the Bible Jenn. What did Christ do? He didn't present a watered down gospel. He presented absolute truth. Isn't that the example we then should follow? Why settle for less than biblical truth?"
That, my friends, sums up the confusion in my heart before I got involved with Sovereign Grace. We should not settle for mediocre and almost absolute truth and only a tiny bit wrong. We are not called to settle! Christ does not want His church, His BRIDE to settle.
And it was 730ish days ago that the Lord led me to a group of churches where there were people like me....
...to be continued....