Monday, October 10, 2011
The Big Lie
I don't know why I still struggle with the fact that God loves me. Maybe it's because we Christians have boiled down the astounding nature of salvation and relational reconciliation to "pray this prayer with me and you'll go to heaven."
Language repeated ad nauseum loses meaning. Repent and believe can mean so many things these days. The very words seem to have lost their potency because they've become a formula for us to yet again try and get what we want. And who doesn't want heaven?
Church signs, pamphlets, guys with bullhorns, fuzzy TV channels, often blare correct words (often not) that drain our ability to know this astounding God who loves furiously.
I'm writing in the context of the Bible belt, where every one is a "Christian" and everyone loves football. The football gets tiresome, and so does the Christianity. It seems like something pasted on just to make our lives better.
I don't know how people can have a "I prayed a prayer" kind of belief. Following Christ is not just like receiving a gift at Christmas. It's so different than that. And I know that I could never feel like "praying a prayer" was enough. (This is partly because I still don't understand the truth that it is a gift and want to try and do something to earn God's favor.) Simply "praying a prayer," saying words so as to get a free-ride to the amusement park in the sky, doesn't do justice to the miracle that is salvation.
Of course, we all stumble into the kingdom don't we? We barely repent, we barely believe (and even these are a gift) when we are rescued. We were still sinners right? Running along in our sin when we were saved.
So back to my original question, why do I still wrestle with the fact that God loves me. I'm beginning to learn that everything in the fall is designed to make us doubt God's love. It's the great deception. The big lie. That we're alone. With no God. Or at least saying "No" to God (Anne Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts).
So my entire being is in need of God's transformational work. Otherwise I'll just fall back into the lie. The only way to live is to cling until you know you're clung to. And clinging looks like searching out God's word, meditating, serving, sharing with brothers and sisters and talking to God about my pain and joy.
I'm betting that the same God who saved me from the fires of hell can save me from the big lie and awaken me even more to his love.
Note on picture: When I'm dissatisfied with God's love, I often run to my hobbies. My main favorite one being biking, I find this picture particularly meaningful for a number of reasons. Biking can numb my pain and make me unreceptive to God. Biking can be a prison, keeping me from waiting on God. And when I get like this, restlessly pursuing a hobby for filling I'm like a wounded child. But I'm hopeful, for prisons are no problem for our God.