Monday, November 16, 2009

How far away I am from where You are!

The title of this blog post is taken from the song ‘Jesus hold me Now’ on the latest Casting Crowns album ‘Until the Whole World Hears’. The lyrics are as follows:

Living on my own, thinking for myself
Castles in the sand, temporary wealth
Now the walls are falling down
Now the storms are closing in
And here I am again

Jesus, hold me now
I need to feel You in this place
To know You’re by my side
And hear Your voice tonight
Jesus, hold me now
I long for Your embrace
I’m beat and broken down
I can’t find my way out
Jesus, hold me now

Curse this morning sun, drags me into one more day
Of reaping what I’ve sown, living with my shame
Welcome to my world, and the life that I have made
One day you’re a prince, and the next day you’re a slave

Lord, I just looked up today
And realized how far away I am from where You are
I don’t know what else to pray
Broken at Your feet I lay
The life I’ve torn apart
Jesus, hold me now
Jesus, hold me now
Jesus, hold me now
Jesus, hold me now

It is the first two lines of the bridge that really struck me. ‘Lord, I just looked up today And realized how far away I am from where You are’. Lately I have been realising that the Christianity we live out here in the UK is so far from what Biblical Christianity is that it may as well be a different faith. Two recent things have opened my eyes to this fact:

  1. We recently had a series of sermons in church on ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ (SOTM) from Matthews Gospel.
  2. I have been listening to the Audio recording of John Piper’s book ‘Desiring God’

The Christianity that Jesus presented in the SOTM is so far removed from the safe, comfortable, unoffending, unassuming, often confused, sometimes very liberal Christianity that the Church presents to the world. John Piper’s book is so challenging and cuts right to the heart in reference to our walk with God. Both these together have made me see just how far I am from what Jesus calls us to be. How small my passion for worship of the only one we should worship and how my desire for prayer and reading the Bible is really quite pathetic. JP’s favourite phrase is ‘God is most Glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him’ and is in the title of my Blog. That is the heart of the matter. Where do we look to find satisfaction? Is it in worship of the one true God who is the only one who can satisfy our hears desires or is it in the temporary ‘comforts’ or ‘vices’ of this world?

I wish I could say that as a Christian it is in God. However that would be a lie. Of course I do look to God for my security, value etc… but not nearly as much as I should. I settle for storing up treasures on Earth to feel better instead of seeking the rewards of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:19-20). Those earthly treasures are any things that bring relief from the wounds caused by living in this fallen world. TV, money, buying stuff, relationships etc… Not all bad in themselves but when placed above finding satisfaction in God become idols to be torn down and destroyed or risk the discipline of God who doesn’t care for His children worshipping at the feet of false Gods.

Or as was preached this Sunday in Church ‘How clean is our Temple?’. Jesus turned over the money changers dealing in the temple and drove out the animals. All were defiling the Temple of God. Since that temple is now any believer in Christ where the Holy Spirit dwells what would Jesus come in and overturn in his Zeal for the House of His Father, (John 2:17)?

For too long Western Christianity has settled for so much less than what God intended for His bride. So  much compromise has crept in. Tolerance for behaviours that we are explicitly warned against. Adultery, Homosexuality, greed, prosperity teaching, idolatry to name a few. Are we so self absorbed with our own little life that we have no time for Gods purposes? When people you come into contact with don’t see any difference in your behaviours, goals, choice of words then something is very wrong with the way you live out your Christianity. If you are not drawing some to you and offending others then the faith you profess is nothing like that which Paul, the Apostles and Jesus Himself demonstrated.

These external demonstrations are all fruit from what is going on in the heart. Are we passionately devoted to seeking God daily in the Word, in prayer and Worship? Is He our ultimate source of satisfaction that is so superior to all other desires that everything else just loses its hold and taste? Is the Holy Spirit so filling us that our Love and passion for glorifying Jesus just flows out into and affects every facet of our lives? Does this lead us to hear the Holy Spirits revelations in words for people, to have the confidence and security to pray for Healing? To demonstrate selfless love and generosity that seeks no reward. Compassion for the less fortunate and downtrodden and a zeal for Justice in the World.

So this goes back to the line in that song. How far am I from where He is!!! I am only just starting to work through the consequences of this challenge. I know much repentance, humility and brokenness will be required. I know I desperately need to cling my Father in Heaven and can do nothing on my own. I want to move nearer to where God is and for there to be more of Him and less of me, I challenge you to do the same!


Alastair said...

"Are we passionately devoted to seeking God daily...?" Great question, good challenge and good turn of phrase...

Graham Drake said...

Assuming that the 'bible' was written after the people who returned to Jerusalem after their learnings of Babylon were integrated into Ezra's writings... how can we believe that it is the Truth?

Nick Payne said...

How clean is your temple?

That question immediately brings forth a scriptural phrase in my mind.

"His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor".

John the Baptist used this to describe Jesus. Do you recall that the Temple was built on the site of a threshing floor?

That scripture was given to me twice... one of those times was very significant in the recent history of the church in Britain.

He still is in the business of clearing his temple today...

I have no doubt in God's sovereign authority to protect and redeem his Church.

The question is... what path do we decide to choose in light of this fact?

In his heart a man plots his course... but the Lord determines his steps.

God bless