Monday, April 04, 2005

Pensive Doubting,

I've been going through a kind of strange time here lately. Don't quite understand it yet, but then again I rarely, if ever, do. Lately I've been thinking a lot about how Christians, myself in particular, seem to come about this idea of the Christian life being a well hearted, faith empowered, attempt to have our lives look like Jesus'. I think that statement could almost be a mission statement for the typical believer (and in that I have to include myself, because for so much of my life as a believer I have held that mindset). To lead a life that looks like Jesus' and to hold Him up as the premire example, or model for us to live by. WWJD? What would Jesus do? It's kind of played out by now, though I occasionally see a bracelet or two, but that underlying mindest still seems to rule the church these days. But... that doesn't mean its right.
Recently Ive just felt like crap when I start to think about my "performance" as a person, believer, you name it. I just stink at life. I fail daily and I never measure up. I end up hurting people because Im a jerk and I'm selfish. I fall short of every command that Christ ever laid out, and I see that Im utterly broken. At times Ive doubted that Im even a true believer because sometimes I dont feel like Im living in light of what I believe. I think, "Ive been a Christian for 10 years and I still suck." Im still struggling with the same stupid sins that I did the day I first believed. I just keep thinking that I should be better by now, and I think the mindest of WWJD fuels this kind of thinking. I like what Derek Webb said in a recent concert that I went to concerning the first time that he hear WWJD, "What would Jesus do?, what do you mean what would Jesus do?...He would walk on water, he would turn water into wine, he would feed 5000 with a few pieces of bread and some fish. He would die on a cross as atonement for the sins of God's people for all time. What do you mean what would Jesus do?"
See what he was getting at was this. Yes Jesus is an example of one who followed God perfectly, but if all we as a fallen people needed was an example then Christ died in vain. He died because we need a savior. Christians are far too concerned with looking like Jesus did and not nearly concerned enough with looking like a people that need Jesus. I feel like thats kind of where I am. I know I cant look like Jesus, Ive kind of known it all along but Ive seen it more and more after college. No more borrowed convictions from campus ministries, no more saftey nets of accountabiltiy groups so you can survive off of a corporate prayer life. Im starting to see where I really am. And its caused much doubt in me. Its caused me to take a second look. And now coming through the back end of a stage of doubt, Im seeing that its not my saviour that I doubt but a system of thought that leads to people looking to Christ as an example of morality or whatever, and refusing Him as Saviour and Lord. Im not perfect, not by a long shot. And I still feel that Im too comfortable with sin that seems to reside in my heart, and I wonder how long God will bear with me, or if He will get tired of my stumbling, I get tired of it. I know God will not nor cannot stop persuing me...after all what kind of a good Calvinist could I be if I didn't believe in Perseverence, but how I still doubt.
But there is a great hope, and its Christ.

This Hymn has reall encouraged me over the past week.

Pensive, doubting, fearful heart,
Hear what Christ the Saviour says;
Every word should joy impart,
Change thy mourning into praise:
Yes, he speaks, and speaks to thee,
May he help thee to believe!
Then thou presently wilt see,
Thou hast little cause to grieve.

Fear thou not, nor be ashamed,
All thy sorrows soon shall end
I who heav'n and earth have framed,
Am thy husband and thy friend
I the High and Holy One,
Israel's God by all adored;
As thy Saviour will be known,
Thy Redeemer and thy Lord.

For a moment I withdrew,
And thy heart was filled with pain;
But my mercies I'll renew,
Thou shalt soon rejoice again:
Though I scorn to hide my face,
Very soon my wrath shall cease;
'Tis but for a moment's space,
Ending in eternal peace.

When my peaceful bow appears
Painted on the wat'ry cloud;
'Tis to dissipate thy fears,
Lest the earth should be o'erflowed:
'Tis an emblem too of grace,
Of my cov'nant love a sign;
Though the mountains leave their place,
Thou shalt be for ever mine.

Though afflicted, tempest-tossed,
Comfortless awhile thou art,
Do not think thou canst be lost,
Thou art graven on my heart
All thy walls I will repair,
Thou shalt be rebuilt anew;
And in thee it shall appear,
What a God of love can do.
(written John Newton 1779)

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