Interesting Quote

One of my favorite artists, Nichole Nordeman, wrote something in a forward to her song “Live” that I found very interesting. She says:

“Most of us can point to a time where God felt particularly close. Summer camp. Weekend retreat. An intense time of praying and fasting with someone. We’re sure, after these moments that we will be able to hold on to the emotional high, only to find ourselves trudging through the ‘Monday’ stuff of life.

That’s one reason not to get attached to the emotional frenzy that a lot of spiritual experiences tend to stir up…sometimes they are genuine, other times they have been outright manipulated.

I don’t think God intends for us to sustain some ’emotional high’ all the time. I don’t see that evidenced in the life of Christ… But the life we have in Christ should show evidence of joy. Not that kind of joy that lands an ear-to-ear grin on your face 24/7, but the kind that draws from a deep well of security and knowledge that things are different now.”

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The Fallacy of Fairness – Pt. 2

We as humans have a sense of justice, which is why we want fairness to be maintained. If we share our things with others, we expect them to share their things with us. It’s just what we expect.

The hired laborers in the parable of the workers in the vineyard expected each to be paid according to the amount of work accomplished (Matt. 20). It’s what they considered fair and just. We might tend to agree with their logic – I would if I had been in their shoes. They thought that the worker who labored less than half the day shouldn’t get the same pay as the one who worked all day – after all, they had been working a lot longer and harder, and earned it. It makes sense.

But it also makes sense when the landowner tells them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (v. 13-15)

Sometimes, the right thing doesn’t seem fair, when in actuality, it is. I didn’t ask to be the firstborn, I didn’t ask to be an example for my brothers. But it’s according to God’s design, even if it doesn’t seem fair to me.

Why, if something really seems right and fair, would we view it as unfair? Because we are selfish humans, and we think if someone gets something, we deserve it, too. It seems fair and just to us – everyone gets equal opportunities, treatment, etc., so I don’t miss out on anything. want what’s best for me. If we started putting others first, maybe our selfish attitudes would change, and we wouldn’t really care if it was fair to us or not. If we’re to “value others above ourselves,” how is that being demonstrated through our selfishness?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

The Fallacy of Fairness

Sometimes I look at certain situations or circumstances and think that it’s not fair. Sometimes I think what God does isn’t fair. Sometimes it’s not. There are so many things in life that aren’t fair, and never will be.

I’ve had so many things in my life that I’ve always viewed as “not fair”. I am the firstborn of my two brothers. I have never liked being the firstborn. I have siblings looking up to me, looking at me as an example, whether its a conscious thought or not. And I have to be the example, the role model, and I’ve never thought that was fair.

We picture “playing fair” as abiding by the rules so everyone gets equal treatment, opportunities, etc. And sometimes, it seems like God doesn’t “play fair”.

But if we really wanted God to “play fair”, we would all end up dead.

Look at Uzzah, in 2 Sam. 6:6-7. He simply reached out to steady the ark of the covenant, when the oxen pulling it stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against him, and he was struck down dead beside the ark. God technically was fair. The ark wasn’t to be touched, Uzzah touched it, and God punished him accordingly. That was completely fair and just, right?

Nadab and Abihu, in Lev. 10:1. They offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, and fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them (v. 2). Yes, it’s a human tendency to make mistakes, but even mistakes, when breaking God’s law, must be punished. God punished them according to the sin they committed. It’s all fair.

Look at one last illustration: there’s a heaven and a hell, and we’re all going to either one or the other. Our sin keeps us from entering heaven, because no sin is permissible there. And because we broke God’s law, and we have sinned, we’re receiving our punishment by going to hell. That’s fair. What’s not fair is that God sent us Christ, to pay the price for our sins, so we could spend eternity with Him. That’s not fair. It would be fair if we all went to hell; we broke the rules, we receive the punishment, right? That would be playing fair. But God wasn’t fair, so He sent us His Son. Shouldn’t we be grateful when He doesn’t “play fair”?

Aspire Christ

For a long time, I’ve had goals, standards, aspirations. I wanted to be the ideal Christian person who spends hours in the Word and in prayer and is just the perfect picture of Godliness and holiness. And I was unbelievably frustrated when all I could see was my failures and my mistakes. It irritated me that I couldn’t match up to my friends, who were what I pictured to be model Christians. I wanted to be like them in so many ways, and I admire their character qualities.

But my motives and standards were wrong. I wanted people to see me as I saw my friends, instead of me striving to walk in His footsteps. My standard wasn’t Christ. He is to be our ultimate example, standard, goal. There’s nothing wrong with admiring traits in others or respecting who they are. Just don’t forget our first love, Christ. Set Him and His example as your goal. Aspire Christ.