Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Change what?...Why?

I have previously confessed that I am a 100% Jesus freak. I worship Him as LORD, and endeavor to follow Him as Master. I also believe that the Bible is authoritative as the Word of the LORD; and therefore, my basis for authority in life and work. (I know! I’m horribly out of touch and old fashioned!) BUT … this doesn’t mean that I believe or act like my Master calls me to act. I am inconsistent and fail often – daily! However, I refuse to let my failure, whether it comes from bad habits, bad behavior, or bad attitudes cause me to give up on the truth I have chosen to follow. I at least want to remain consistent over the long-haul of life. I choose to blame my inconsistency on ME, rather than that the God I serve has not the power to reign me in when I’m being an inconsistent, inconsiderate jerk! It means I have chosen to exercise my freedom of choice and be an inconsiderate jerk! 


I often fail to love people who don’t fit in my little window of appropriate, or relevant, or cool. I get pissed quickly at people who don’t put their shopping carts back at Fred Meyer! And especially irritated at the stupid people who cross the street anywhere and anytime they want to and force traffic to stop. They just saunter by, flipping us off with their eyes, if not for real - as if they have the right to make you and I choose not to run their sorry hide over! I want to roll down my window and yell, “Use the freakin’ cross-walk, idiot! That’s what it’s for! Or I’ll use my front bumper on your sorry butt ‘cuz that’s what it’s for!” 


Yet, all the while, I allow myself not to forgive! I allow myself to lust, to engage in greedy, selfish behavior, to lash out in anger over something petty, or to ignore someone who just needs a compassionate greeting, or a kind act to help them get in line at a busy intersection. I sometimes allow myself the supposed right to be impatient at someone I deem undeserving of such forbearance. 


Why all this confession? Am I guilt ridden? No, not particularly - now at least! And no, I don’t think organized (or disorganized!) religion has helped the world by blowing the horn of “moralism” in the face of people who need Jesus! But that’s not what this is about. Today, I simply want to take my place in the crowd of humanity stained and drained by rebellion towards God. I want to get in line for some wisdom about how to continue the journey of faith that was long ago begun with more zeal and less wisdom and experience. As 2007 begins I need change, or to continue the process of change with more focus and effort. 


Whether you believe in making resolutions at the beginning of a new year or not, it’s an important part of anyone’s human maturity to pick times to evaluate life - how we are living it - how we must change - how we must hold on what is good and forsake our unhealthy, self-destructive, hurtful and morally wrong patterns of behavior, as we head speedily towards the ultimate finish line? I just want to start with myself and focus on myself. That’s a good change for all of us!

The resurgence of talk about resolutions every New Year convinces me that Blaise Pascal said way back in the 16th century was correct: that even people without God, have a vacuum shaped like God within them: “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Pascal and many others like him have long encouraged us to admit the failure, corruption and emptiness of life, and to let God be THE source, to let God be the substance, so that we can live a long life if possible, and more importantly, a full life.


So, I am asking myself a few questions all over again: If no such ‘Pascalian vacuum’ why do I desire to change? Why do I even think about it? Why should I make an effort to change certain behaviors and drag certain habits to the recycle bin? So what if my behavior hurts other people – even the one’s I love? Why is it so terribly hard to change obvious patterns and behaviors? Where can I get wisdom to know how to change? Is there any time when we will have to give an account for our lives? Or, are we sentient beings who have no ultimate sentient source of origin to whom we must face one day? Does anyone doubt that life is short, unpredictable and difficult? Does anyone know the moment they will take their last breath? 


My response is that we desire to change because imbedded within us, is the desire to progress. It comes from our Creator-God, who will always give us the power to change, when we chose to - when we see that the paths we’ve chosen haven’t been working for us, and for those we love. That being said, we must go to that Creator-God for the wisdom needed to make change and make it stick. 

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