Coasting on Faithful Fumes

I worship a Savior who was beaten up and killed for me. He didn't come riding on a horse, a tactical missile, or a drone and take over the world. He came in love, eventually bearing a cross that He was nailed to. If you are willing to surrender yourself to Him and His mission to love others...If you want to be part of a group of people doing the same, then following Jesus and getting involved in a church should be just the thing for you.

In the New Testament we are never called to mimic God's justice; we're called to mimic His love. He reminds us that vengeance is His, not ours. We're called to love our neighbor, enemy, and everyone else. Even when it is not convenient, cultural, or safe.

We, the church - you and me - people in relationship with Jesus and each other - not a building - we, the church are striving to be the people God wants us to be, loving the world the way God wants us to love it.

Are we really doing that? Or do we just say it? Are we striving to be the people God wants us to be, or do we just want to do enough to "get saved?" Are we loving the world the way God wants us to love it, or are we just loving it when it is convenient to us, fits nicely into our schedule, and doesn't really cost us anything?

This week, I was blessed with the opportunity to be the middleman in delivering a $1000 anonymous gift. God had laid it on another person's heart to give a certain family that money. They were faithful and did it. So I was able to deliver a great gift, a tremendous blessing, at really no cost to myself.

And I enjoyed being used to do that.

Then it struck me. Everything I do is like that. God has given me everything; it's all a blessing from Him. One of the greatest lies that we buy into as Americans is that we actually deserve this. We deserve to wake up every morning and have food available unlike others around the world. We deserve to be in a loving family unlike others around us. We deserve to have all the excess entertainment options we enjoy unlike those less fortunate. We deserve this and we deserve that. Because we work hard. Because we're smart. Because of this or that.

But it's all a lie. We don't deserve it.

It's by God's grace. Don't get me wrong. I think we can create fair and just systems that help accommodate His blessing. We can live lives that God's grace can more easily flow into. But we have become prideful. We think we deserve God's blessings because of how great we are. And we don't. That's the nature grace. It isn't something deserved. All our blessing, We don't deserve them. When we think we are deserving, then we fail to see all the love being poured into us.

We're coasting on the fumes of the faithful who have come before us. If we don't turn back to God soon, those fumes will run out. We'll sputter to a stop and find ourselves left on the side of the road of life - hungry, weak, without a family, without all the entertainment. All the blessings that our prideful selves have taken for granted will be taken from us. But the good truth is that you don't need to hit rock bottom to turn and respond to God's grace.

Instead of building up pride, God's grace should inspire selflessness, service, faithfulness. His grace should inspire in us a desire to draw as close to Him as we possibly can. It should inspire us to work toward His vision of living that we each have been called to. We should start (or continue if you are already) feeding the hungry.

We truly love God and live for Him when we love others. Love, in this case, isn't some emotional, fuzzy sort of thing. You can tell a needy person that you love Him and not help Him, but you can't trick God that way. He knows your heart, and He knows your actions. He says that if you love the needy person, then you should help her. If you care for the hungry, then feed him. If you love the homeless, then house them. He says that in doing those things, you are loving Him.

It doesn't matter how emotional you get when you worship God, whether you're spinning around in a wheat field with your arms raised, raising your hands in worship, or you imagine Him wrapping His arms around you in your quiet time. What matters is how you treat the least of these. Strangers. The hurt. The hopeless.

Because all that we do to love others is like that opportunity I was given this week. We don't earn what we are able to bless others with. It was given to us by God. It actually still is God's possession. And we must learn, if we claim to follow Jesus, to use the things that are His in a way that will bring Him glory.

Do you really want to follow Jesus?