Thursday, August 20, 2009

Do I Measure Up?

(Please don’t read this and think, oh gosh he must be depressed, believe me! It gets better towards the end!!) This is a question I have asked over and over again throughout my life. As a young child desired to be a tough little boy who didn’t cry when he was hurt, but I didn’t measure up. I wanted to be able to speak clearly, but obviously this was another place I didn’t measure up. I wanted to be liked by all but for some reason in my eyes I never measured up, and so I began to act in ways I thought would impress others. But no matter how much I acted out or how much I thought I was doing what they thought was cool. I still, in my eyes, didn’t measure up. I got to junior high and started really noticing girls. The only problem was, I was too shy to let any of them know that I really liked them. And so, it added another area of my life where I felt I didn’t measure up. I came to know Christ at an early age probably around 10 years old. You would think this would have been good news for me and my life, but from the time I came into relationship with Him I began to see that this too was another area in life where I didn’t measure up. Throughout junior high and high school I struggled with lust and the guilt and anxiety it brought just continued to fuel the fire that burned inside of me that continually let me know that I didn’t measure up. I got to high school and then alcohol became a temptation and failure once again set in on my life; and in the area of measuring up all I could see was that in no way did I measure up. So, how did I deal with not measuring up? Most of the time I didn’t deal with it; I suppressed things and held them inside. When I was really hurt I just didn’t react I just cried when I could get away from people, I just didn’t talk to anyone I didn’t know, this cut down on that anxiety, when it came to girls, I would date the ones who would pursue me, but pursuing them was nothing that I would ever do, I couldn’t handle any more of not measuring up. That is how I dealt with not measuring up with most things in my life. When it came to God the only reaction I ever had to not measuring up is to turn and run from God because obviously I didn’t measure up to His standards either and he was definitely mad at me. This was a continued response, and actually has been a regular response of mine. I have had this picture in my mind, this human picture of how I view human relationships and have attributed human relationship characteristics to a Holy God. I have come to think that the way I react humanly is the same way that a Holy God reacts to His people/His children. But is this the truth of God’s reaction? Is God shocked by my continual sinning?? Is God ticked off at me because I can’t seem to follow a few simple commands He has given me? Does God look at my life and say “Oh, that guy Scott, yeah he doesn’t measure up!”? Yesterday and today I watched Rob Bell’s lecture titled “The God’s Aren’t Angry” and like a rushing flood an answer to all of these questions came to me. For so long I have viewed my repentance as a transaction where I say I am sorry and then God is happy and then God does things for me. Rob Bell states that “If you are repenting in order that God might do something you are bargaining with the wrong kind of God.” When I first heard that I was kind of confused, I thought “but repentance is good… and doesn’t God desire for our repentance so that He can forgive us?” The thing is God HAS already acted!! Right?? Did He not send His son in order that we may have forgiveness?? Is payment for our sin and rebellion already paid for? You see repentance is joining in with what God has already done (that’s how Rob Bell puts it). Going to church and hearing a message that convicts our hearts that we need to be more in line with Christ isn’t intended to pile on guilt, anxiety, and worry. It is intended to place our hearts back into proper alignment. To allow us to see, to remind us, to show us that a price has been paid! The work has been done! When God looks at our lives He doesn’t say “they don’t measure up!”. He sees people that He died for. He sees people that He is doing a work in, perfecting them to be who He has called them to be. Us measuring up is not a worry or concern for Him. He is a God that sees all time! He determined many years ago that we were worth dying for. As we approach a weekend event focused on Purity in our lives, it is easy for us to look at our lives and say “I don’t measure up!” But my prayer is that this isn’t our reaction. I pray that our reaction is to see and remember what God has done, that there has been a price paid for our lives, and because this price has been paid we should live as a forgiven people! A people who have had a price paid for their lives and their forgiveness!! I’m not sure how to end this, but this morning my heart has been heavy, worrying about, and having anxiety about a weekend focused on purity. Looking at my life and seeing that I don’t measure up, and feeling that I need to do something in order that God might not be angry with me. Feeling that God is looking at me and saying, “Scott you don’t measure up.” But there is this voice, a still small voice, a voice calling to me from the silence saying “Scott I saw it fit to send my son who died for your sins, and is for all times the only sacrifice needed. The work has been done my child, all I desire from you is for you to line yourself up with the forgiveness that has already been offered to you. The question isn’t do you measure up the question is do you accept what has already been given to you?” So this morning, this day, whenever you may read this, replace my name in the italicized text with your name. That is what God desires for you to hear!! This is God’s message to a people who continually ask the wrong question of “Do I measure up?”

In need of Him!