Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Giving Up"

I’ve had it! Enough is enough! I now understand that you can’t live like Jesus by following “christian” principles. You can’t work hard enough, you can’t employ enough discipline. You can’t “serve” enough, and you can’t even “take up your cross” to the degree that it will MAGICALLY MAKE YOU become a better Christ follower. Give up! It ain’t happenin’. I can no longer be a “christian”. I’ve seen behind the curtain of religion’s “OZ”, and what I discovered is that it is full of principles, full of fear of failing to follow those principles, full of manipulation and control to heap condemnation on you for NOT following those principles! You can’t memorize enough scripture. You can’t “separate” yourself from the world enough. Don’t even think about trying to deny yourself enough. That’s impossible to do in your own strength. You can’t build your faith up enough. You can’t give yourself to the poor and needy enough. You can’t fight for social justice enough! You can’t sacrifice enough. FUGGEDABOUTIT!!! Lights out, party’s over!!! All of your feeble attempts and selfless efforts will all ultimately arrive in the land of futility! You, in your humanity, will NEVER become like Jesus. Sound pretty hopeless? THAT is! But IS there hope? ABSOLUTELY!!! It takes HIS life, HIS faith, HIS strength, HIS peace, HIS joy! Seriously, only HE can live like Himself! But……HE came that WE might have HIS life, and experience HIS life in ABUNDANCE!!! When did we miss that? When did we start to think that we, in all our faux goodness and legalistic filthy rag-like righteousness, could EVER fabricate HIS life??? Even the “CHAMPION OF ALL THOSE WHO WERE LEGAL AND RIGHTEOUS”, Paul, finally gave up! He realized that the ONLY way He could live the abundance of the Jesus life was to, well….let the actual Spirit of Jesus live HIS life through Paul! He lamented about doing the things he did NOT want to do, and NOT doing the stuff he knew he should AND wanted to do. He was THE MOST “righteous” dude around, and even HE failed at living like Jesus by using his own “goodness” and “law perfect” principles with amazing zeal. If HE couldn’t do it, what makes us think we can? He even realized what all his “christian” knowledge and achievement amounted to…..just a pile of SHI….oops, I mean DUNG! Same thing, actually!  Well, ol’ Paul finally figured it out at the close of his lament, when he said, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
It’s HIS LIFE IN US!!! We can choose to live by our life or surrender to HIS life in and through us! Abundance only comes through ONE of those. I’ll let you figure out which one.
All these years of trying to follow the right principles, trying to DO enough, trying to live “rightly”! How much time I have wasted!!! Somehow, we “got” the fact that only Jesus could save us, and NOT our works, BUT, we failed to understand that HIS same life that saved us, was also given to us TO LIVE BY! In the everyday mundane, in our issues, in our lack, in our health, and in our relationships! Like the Galatians, we seem to have started out right, but through the eons of time, we have gotten way off track! Religious systems of performance have replaced a relational connection with Jesus! “Substitutionary” leadership figures have taken the place of the Holy Spirit! Rules & regulations have replaced Love’s laws written on our hearts! No wonder, so many live an anemic, defeated, and frustrated life. You can’t live the abundant life vicariously by “rote”. You can’t live “your version” of His life! There is only ONE life…..HIS! The life HE came to give us!
I’m in my forties, and I feel like my journey is just now really starting! But it’s different now. I’m journeying by another’s life, and not a “sanitized” version of my own! The greatest LIFE is HIS! Journey on!

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