Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Passionate Misery

Sometimes I run down my news feed on Facebook and am touched when I read a post that screams with passion...especially passion for the things of God.

But something troubles me about these posts, too. It seems often when God does not work in/through someone's life like they expect or desire...someone who earnestly desires and tries their very best to please Him...their thoughts always fall back to some form of, "What is wrong with me/in my life that God isn't moving?" or "Something about me must just not be good enough. God doesn't seem to want to use me."

Our faulty, legalistic theology has taught us to think in this way.

I have been in Pentecostal circles all my life, so I know a few names of people through whom God did miraculous things - healing the sick and diseased, casting out demons, and even raising the dead. Smith Wigglesworth is the one that always comes to mind first. From all accounts, he spent so much time in prayer and study of the Word of God...and God used him mightily in ways that shook the world.

But the thing about old Smith.... He wasn't perfect! I'm sure he spewed out a few cross words at people, even after he became a Christian. He was sometimes judgmental of others, and he was reputably very stubborn. I am quite certain no one's theology has ever been 100% perfect (in fact, I'm pretty sure most of the time none of us is anywhere close), including Mr. Wigglesworth's. And finally, in addition to all the wonderful things he did, I can almost guarantee he could have done more.

Smith Wigglesworth was not good enough for God to manifest miracles through him.

Come to think of it, the apostle Paul wasn't good enough, either. He argued with Barnabas to the point that they had to part ways in the middle of their missionary work. In his impatience, he sent a young man (Mark) away from helping in the ministry. He was sarcastic.

The great apostle who wrote a major portion of the New Testament was not perfect.

The thing that rubs me wrong about conservative Christianity is that it portrays God as a begrudging Savior. He sent His Son to die for you, but if you accept His sacrifice, you had better toe the line or He will strike you down. Even His willing and most eager-to-please servants walk around heartbroken that they are not perfectly acceptable to Him and...not good enough.

Something is wrong with this picture.

I by no means have God figured out; but I think He means it when He says He loves us. And I think He smiles on a willing heart and does not withhold blessings in order to goad us on to (impossible) perfection.

What is perfection?

It hurts my heart when someone I know loves God passionately yet feels like a wounded failure because they don't understand why God doesn't do miraculous (by their judgment) wonders through them.

2 comments:

  1. Our Pastor loves to make comments in his sermons such as, "We're not perfect. The perfect Christians must attend the church down the street." And he ends every service by reminding the congregation that "God loves you. He loves you just the way you are."

    By the way, we're a United Methodist Church.

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  2. I SO love this post.

    I was once told by someone that my life was a dirty rag of sin to God. That all of our lives are. What a way to make someone feel bad. I believe that God is loving. I don't see Him as the fire and brimstone type who points out our flaws. I see Him as someone who lived me so much He sent His son to die for me so I could live with Him again.

    He does love us. He doesn't expect us to be perfect. He just wants us to try.

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