Tue, Jun 12th - 5:48PM
Burger King Blues
Two acquaintances triggered this blog. I suppose I should be thankful. While there are no two humans exactly alike, it would appear that human nature remains amazingly similar, person to person, age to age..
Acquaintance #1 moved to my town looking for the “perfect house”. This is a buzz-phrase for realtors and means “a comic tragedy of futility”. And it gets worse – his perfect house is firmly etched in his brain. Houses in time and space come and go, but his photo never changes. As the weeks string into months, and the market changes, it gets harder and more expensive to find the property that will fit this unchanging mold. Prices are going up while futility builds and time passes.
Acquaintance #2 moved to town obsessed with finding a house – almost any house. Lender after lender told this person to wait at least a year. His credit needs fixing and a positive work history needs to be established. Over a year has passed, and every lender has remained on the same page with consistent advice to wait. But waiting never satisfies an obsession. Starting with low-end fixer uppers to higher end shared ownership – with 5th wheel campers in between, he is now obsessing over a rent-to-own situation, never mind that it’s too far from work.
As I see it, both individuals are hung up over the Burger King logo, “Have it your way”. And while both profess to revere God, both are fully committed to having it their way. The essence of the problems described is the same – putting Things first always results in some kind of disaster. While both individuals have read the biblical text, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these Things will be added unto you”, both are apparently involved in “Seek ye first the Thing desired and God will be added unto it later”.
I wouldn’t be writing about this if I had not, regrettably, lived through many similar scenarios in my own life. It always begins with some degree of self deception and justification, moves into obsession fueled by lack of success, and usually resolves with even God getting out of the way and letting us have it our way. Later, we usually have to face the fact that the gold turned into tarnished glitter, while the real gold was overlooked in the haste to order from the Burger King menu.
It’s a good thing that God is never taken by surprise – what mercy and love, but if I were ever able to learn from my mistakes I would hope to aim for God’s plan, not mine. It is said that the shortest distance between two objects (or objectives) is a straight line. Since our investment in Eternity is connected to how we spend our time now, perhaps we should choose our menus more cautiously.
Tue, Jun 5th - 1:37PM
The War Within
I suppose we are all familiar with the oxymoron, “Civil War”, and at times most Christians are aware of a civil war occurring inside of themselves. The apostle Paul referred to his own civil war, and before proposing the solution, stated, “Oh wretched man that I am..”...
Now I’m not an avid student of history, but as I understand it, our own American Civil War began over the issue of “State’s Rights”, with the southern states up in arms, literally, when the federal government tried to dictate what their rights were. Regardless of our individual opinions of that particular war, I think we, as Christians, can benefit from the obvious lesson and parallel we see from that history.
In my own case, I resemble the southern states of 1861. Although I always want God to supply my needs – I don’t want Him to “Dominate” my life, because I would have to give up my rights, but I am at war within myself when I do so. I am left with only two choices – God in charge of my life, or I in charge of my own. More succinctly, I will serve God or I will serve myself – and I will serve somebody. For years I thought God should, and would, serve me. It is however, not an option. He did all the serving needed on the cross of Christ, and I would throw dirt on His sacrifice to demand more. He is not in my debt.
And so, after all this rambling and about sixty years on the planet, I have finally come to realize a great, basic truth. Here it is:
TO REALLY SERVE CHRIST – I MUST UNDERSTAND DAILY – THAT I HAVE NO RIGHTS OF MY OWN.
Of course, in a way this offends me as an American, but viewing this world from a heavenly perspective absolutely demands I accept it. Because if I don’t either understand it or accept it, I am immediately living in Paul’s sentence, “Oh wretched man that I am..”, and I become ensnared in the endless civil war within myself. And while I am distracted with my own war, I can not serve Him. And unlike the war of 1861-1865, I will remain engaged (ensnared) until I find a way out.
Over a year ago God let me know that the volcano within myself was the result of my resistance to Him, and He told me to quit fighting Him. I thought He was calling on me to further surrender my life to Him, and I was confused about how to do it because I thought I already had, and yet the internal unrest continued to build. Continual, ineffective surrender becomes meaningless, or worse, over time. Eventually, holes start to appear in the wall of Faith. With no wall, the war inside is free to spread and becomes the dominating tension of life. With that domination, all control is lost, and real (spiritual) life is checkmated.
So here’s my way out, finally: when I willfully give up My Rights to Him – at that moment I not only surrender effectively, I worship, because that is the meaning of real surrender. Any other surrender is just a deceptive attempt to get something from God, i.e.: have Him serve me.
I now ask myself, “Do I have any right to be angry?” Or, “Do I have any right to be happy?” One of the so called “Christian” songs widely advertised on satellite radio, begins with these lyrics, “His number one priority is watching you and me..”. Personally, I find it repugnant that someone deigns to prioritize Almighty God.
We should instead prioritize ourselves – and while looking at His cross, give up our rights. That’s what He did for us – it’s the least we can do for Him.