Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm Not as Bad as "So-and-So"

"LUKEWARM PEOPLE gauge their morality or 'goodness' by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren't as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street." p.72
Chan goes on to use this Scripture... to drive the point home:
"The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and I give a tenth of all I get.' (Luke 18:11-12)"
Nothing like being compared to a Pharisee to make you feel completely unworthy. But, honestly, this characteristic is not soley attributed to lukewarm christians. I believe it is firmly embedded into the psyche of many Americans, maybe even in all human beings, whatever the circumstance. For example, a few weeks ago, I overheard my husband talking to one of our neighbors. You see, it's that time of year again when everyone in the neighborhood is out working on their lawns. My husband DREADS it! Not because he doesn't like the work... he actually does. The problem is that we have one of the worst lawns in the neighborhood... and, of course, our neighbor has one of the best. We have a lot of things against us in the lawn care department...lack of time and lack of resources being the main two. But, we still try... and I use the word "we" VERY loosely here! But, my point is that even in the caretaking of our lawns, we seem obsessed with not being the worst. But, I guess the most obvious question then would be this: How "removed" from the "worst" is considered acceptable? One or two steps above? Three or four? It's extremely subjective, isn't it? Once we are far enough removed from the worst, we'll just make excuses for not being the best, finding this almost disturbing sense of comfort in mediocrity.
What I really like about this Lukewarm characteristic is that, to someone else, WE might actually be that "horrible guy down the street." It's so incredibly easy for us to compare ourselves to someone else that doesn't seem to have their "act" together, if you will. But, all it takes is a gentle reminder that we also don't have everything figured out. I think it's pretty safe to assume that there will ALWAYS be someone smarter than you, prettier than you, stronger than you. The list is exhaustive... so the only true option we have is to STOP wasting our time comparing ourselves to other people. Instead, spend that time focusing on God... and trying to be the best "YOU" that He created. When it comes to claiming our identity in Christ, there's no room for mediocrity.
I found this video a few minutes ago. I was looking for something else, but was really struck by the message here. As you watch, think about how you live your life here. As it pertains to today's blog, think about the eternal implications of being that "hard-core" christian that so many lukewarm christians are unwilling to become...that they are afraid to become. I hope this video lends a different perspective.

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