I am a regular church attender. Week after week, I sit in the pew, sing the songs, listen to the sermon, and try desperately to pull away a few tidbits that will help my heart change to reflect more of what God has called me to be. As I have matured in my walk with God I’ve made a bold commitment to abandon my pursuit of “religion” and instead seek Jesus vigorously. In all honesty though, much of what I hear is too quickly forgotten partially due to distractions (like four crazy kiddos running in the church parking lot) and partially due to ears that water down a message internally to make it more palatable.
Sometimes though, a portion of a message pricks my heart so profoundly that I know the particular lesson is one I will never forget. I recognize God speaks to our hearts individually in a way that is vastly beyond our human understanding, however, I felt a nudge to share what spoke to me today via this blog. I’ve never actually written about anything from a sermon, so I seriously hope I don’t chop this up incorrectly as I am certainly not a theologian or Bible expert. Thus, my disclaimer here is to say that if this intrigues you– listen to the full message for context by Dr. Steve Bell here (date would be week 28, and should be posted soon): http://www.frbc.org/year-of-the-bible1
This morning as my church journeys through the Bible in one year, our daily readings led to a message on the book of Hosea. I’ll start by saying my journey and walk with God has been one insanely wild adventure in which God’s pursuit and love for me is beautifully obvious. I have a rebel heart that has regularly been unfaithful to God (and I’m not proud of this). As illustrated in the book of Hosea, God’s response to me as His child has always been the same: unwavering, affectionate, reckless and magnetically attractive! God’s love has always literally wooed me back into welcoming arms that are ready to forgive even the gravest of offenses.
Pastor Steve taught how though God lovingly pursues His children, as illustrated in Hosea; He also gives us the free will to run, reject Him, and ultimately make our own decisions! Our sin always has punishments and many poor decisions have undesirable consequences, painful repercussions, and regrets that may haunt ones life.
Pastor Steve spoke of something that he coined with the phrase of “Burger King Christianity” which can be one of the greatest punishments in a Christian’s life. Essentially what was meant by that is when in a believers life God says, “Okay, child…Have it Your Way. Live your life…” God will allow His children with rebellious disobedient hearts to stray, even as He is yearning for them to come back home! There have been times in my life where honestly “having it my way” doesn’t sound all that bad. Many times doing things God’s way seems impossibly difficult, undesirable, and even unbeneficial.
The truth is, that as a loving Father, God is always seeking my best interest. The guidelines, instructions, and even the circumstances He’s asked me to walk through are for my benefit (Romans 8:28). Sometimes my emotions or selfishness make this truth hard to swallow, but if I’m going to embrace any part of Christianity– this one truth is essential to my ability to follow and give my heart wholeheartedly to God. I must not only know in my head that He is good; but I must also believe it in the core of my being that anything He asks of me is for my good!
If I believe that He is ultimately and divinely good in all things (and I do) then what worse consequence could befall me then for God to continue to allow me to stray and live life on my terms? If God’s plan for each of our lives individually is what allows us to live fulfilled and with purpose, then living our lives on our own agenda would result in nothing more then a wasted life with regrets. While it may or may not directly affect where our eternity is spent (that depends on the individual’s walk with God), it most certainly will affect the very limited amount of years we have on this earth and what we do with them.
As I continue to age the clock seems to move faster and faster. I’m in no means old, but I have become more aware that as Ecclesiastes says– everything is meaningless under the sun except to fear God and keep His commands (Ecc 12:13). I don’t want to waste my life. I hope you won’t waste yours. As Christians, we need to pray to continue to die to self, and refuse to give in to temptation to “have it our way.” The penetrating truth is Burger King Christianity is deadly junk food…. and if God grants you the desire to live life on your own terms, it will undoubtedly at the very least leave you sick with tremendous regret!
Quick note: This blog isn’t the whole message of the sermon, or endorsed by my church, etc. etc. Simply, my thoughts and what impacted me out of todays message!