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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Objectionable?

As I was growing up, I remember doing all manner of "things" which I hoped would have made me acceptable to some group of individuals.  Some of them were kind of insignificant, like just dressing to be acceptable to my peer group, while others were pretty much crossing the line because the actions either "broke the law" or "broke some rule".  By the actions I took, I either disregarded the clear-cut instructions of my parents or some other superior in my life, or I actually engaged in activities which put me at odds with the laws we are all supposed to live by.  I trespassed into private property, sometimes with complete disregard for the danger this could present to both me and those with me.  At other times, I found myself telling one lie to cover another, simply because I thought the truth would make me somehow "uncool" or "unacceptable" in the group I desired so much to be accepted within.  I expected my actions to somehow "change" me from the "nerd" I was accused of being into someone totally "better" than what I was in the eyes of those who saw me as a "nerd" in the first place.  What a silly thing to think I could accomplish through some action on my own behalf!  I honestly believed I could change the way others saw me by the actions I took. It is just impossible to change who we ARE at the core of our being without the power and intervention of GOD in our lives.  We can change the "outside", but only he can truly change the "inside". 

Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him. The Law and the Prophets tell how we become acceptable, and it isn’t by obeying the Law of Moses. God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life’s blood, so that by faith in him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past he was right to be patient and forgive sinners. This also shows that God is right when he accepts people who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26 CEV)

As long as we view ourselves as unacceptable, we are saying there is something within us which is kind of "objectionable" to someone.  It may be we even view ourselves in the mirror and make that determination ourselves.  Why?  We judge by the appearance - what we see or observe through our limited powers of observation are what we use to fashion our opinions of what we see.  Good news - God looks way beyond the "appearance" and gets right at the root of the matter - what actually makes up our "core".  Another piece of good news - God doesn't see ANY of us as more "acceptable" because of something we do, think, or possess. He sees all of us exactly the same.  That means we are all on an "even playing field" when it comes to approaching God, being "accepted" by him, and being made "acceptable" in terms of his grace.

When you look in the mirror, do you see a sinner?  If you don't, then look again!  All of us are sinners - some may "sin" more outwardly than others (like me when I broke the law or was in blatant opposition to the rules of my parents), but all of us "sin" inwardly in some manner or another (like when we want to hold a grudge for a wrong done).  We all have the "genetic make-up" to sin and knowing we are all "cut of the same cloth" means we all have the same propensity to choose self-motivated actions on occasion.  We also share the same "fate" for this propensity - we are separated from God and his grace.  Apart from God, we live alienated lives - lives devoid of the Spirit of God within.  In this state, all we do is "soul" directed - mind, will, and emotions controlling our every action.

In the scheme of things, we can try to clean up our act and appear one way when we still have the old way of "being" and "acting" at the core of who we really are, but we rarely can impact who we are at the core.  I will always be a "nerd" in the eyes of some.  I like technology, enjoy playing games which challenge my mind, and find humor in things which others may think of as kind of goofy and childish.  It is who I am at the core - so to try to change this make me untrue to the way I was created.  If I had extreme musical talent and then tried to morph myself into an investment banker, I probably could learn investment banking, but something of the deep down passion which makes me a talented musician would be squelched.  I would live with the frustration of not being true to what I feel the most "free" at doing.

In much the same way, whenever we try to live apart from the way we were truly created to live (with God's Spirit within each of us, energizing our being and ruling our lives), we find a great deal of frustration with the way we are living.  We are living "close" to the way we were created to live, but not "fully" in that place.  Grace is God's means of bringing his Spirit fully alive within each of us.  His means of keeping us "true" to what we were created to be is by giving us his Spirit and then igniting that life within us until it motivates and moves us in every aspect of our lives.  Grace is available to all, but grace must be embraced - we are made acceptable through the presence of grace.  Grace does more than just make us "acceptable", though.  It does more than change us from "objectionable" in God's eyes.  It transforms us into living, vibrant beings capable of reproducing the life which dwells within us through the sharing of this life with others.  Isn't it about time we stop looking at others as "objectionable" and start sharing what has the power to transform each of us from our "objectionable" state into the glorious state of grace God has prepared for each of us?  Just askin!