During my hangout night with my kids we pulled out the guitar and were dancing around in the living room like clowns. I just started singing random lyrics and landed on a catchy phrase that I then sung over and over again in the presence of my children. It went a little something like this:
I don't want to be what you want me to be
But I do want to be what you don't want me to...yes I do
In these few simple words I found language to describe my own rebellious nature to a T!! As human beings we simply do not like being told what to do or how to do it. Unfortunately much of our society is based upon this very same premise that we have a love/hate flirtatious affection for. We like when someone is in charge, but we don't like when those in charge begin to dictate how or what we should do. We like safe things that don't push us too hard and don't demand too much from us. It's this very same portion of our human character that we bring with us into our relationships, our church and the world at large. We may not find working hard, but we enjoy when things are simple and easy to understand and to follow...as long as they don't ask us for too much.
Take this same sort of mentality and bring it into the world of faith and you can see the new dichotomy that is now represented. We don't like being told what to do, but to follow Christ we must be willing to live life according to his rhythm and design in a whole-hearted fashion. Our natural human tendency is to begin searching for compromise and concession, and in doing so we literally vocalize the very same thing that I was singing with my kids during our random dance mob!!
We like to have our cake and eat it to. We like to identify ourselves with Christ when it is safe and convenient to do so, but what it begins to ask too much from us, we shy away from embracing our faith to the full. The ironic thing is that when we embrace a life of complacency, we forfeit a life to the full and we doom ourselves to follow the perpetual pattern of strive, reach, learn, fail, repeat absent of a solid foundation from which to build our hopes, dreams and passions on top of. If the foundation is leaky...the whole structure will come down.
So what makes our foundation strong if we simply don't like to be told what to do. It boils down to question of what some call semantics. Jesus talks about relationship, which is based upon things like trust, friendship, forgiveness and love. Yet our default human programming marred by sin is set to pursue a do and do not mentality and use this foundation from which to build relationship. The foundation that is firm is that which is deeply rooted in the person of Jesus Christ in a relational fashion. The foundation that is easily shaken is that which is utilized a legalistic approach to define terms of success in living life.
I am far from having this all figured out, but tonight I gained greater insight into the fact that I simply don't like being told what to do. What's said about this light bulb moment is that I can see when I reject Christ because I feel He may be asking too much from me, instead of recognizing that simply being where He is will inspire me to become more like Him. My behavior is no longer on trial, but my willingness to call Him my friend is.
Had a lot of fun with this one.
This is the second of a 3-part conversation on racism and the response of the local church. Join us as we learn, listen and grow.
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