Monday, October 20, 2014

"Self-Righteous" I don't think you know what that word means!

There is a line in "The Princess Bride" that I absolutely love. Actually there are many lines in "The Princess Bride" that I really love. "No more rhyming; I mean it! Anybody want a peanut?" "He's not really dead. He's just mostly dead." "But, what you don't realize is -- I'm not left handed!" I could go on and on and on so I had better stop now and get to the line that I was originally thinking about. There is a scene after the word "Inconceivable" has been uttered by his sidekick numerous times that Andrew the Giants character turns to his friend and says, "I don't think that you know what that word means!" That's exactly the way that I feel when people use the word "self-righteous".

Words have meaning and I think that one of the biggest problems that we have in communicating in our age is that we rarely know what the words that we are using mean anymore. Many times I find myself asking people, "What do you mean exactly when you use the word ____________?" Often, I find that the way they define the word and the way that I define it have very little in common. "Self-righteous" is one of those words. The word comes from the Bible when Jesus deals with the "self-righteous" Pharisees and teachers of the law. It means that they thought that they had the power within themselves to become right in the eyes of God. That if they just did all of the right things, followed all of the right rules, ate all of the right foods, and avoided all of the wrong places and people that they could somehow become what God desired them to become. The problem with such teaching is that human beings are completely powerless to make themselves right with God. That is why Jesus had to come as a sacrifice. His death took care of the payment for our sins. This was something that we were powerless to accomplish on our own.

Unfortunately, the word "self-righteous" has come to be acquainted with anyone that points out the sin in the world around them. If someone calls adultery sin that doesn't make them "self-righteous". It doesn't even make them judgmental. Why not? Simple, the Bible has already declared that judgment as fact. The Bible has done the judging already! The individual is merely point out what the Bible has already proclaimed. I rarely, if ever, encounter a "self-righteous" Christian. The very fact that someone is a born again Christian means that they have declared themselves to be a hopeless sinner in need of a savior that is completely beyond themselves. They have recognized that they cannot make themselves righteous.

What I find is that most of the people that I hear throwing around the term "self-righteous" are in fact "self-righteous." We live in a society that sees no need for a savior. They are not like the Pharisees who thought that they just need to do certain things in order to attain God's favor. On the contrary, they feel that they already have the favor of God and have no need to change anything at all about their lives because after all, "God loves me just the way that I am!" He made me this way so there is no need to change what He has made "Self-righteous" means "religious" in the minds of most people today. "Self-righteous" means church-goer in the minds of most people today.

The reality is that "self-righteous" means, "I don't need Jesus. I don't need the Church. I don't need to read the Bible. I don't need to pray. I don't need to change. I don't need to give. I don't need to be committed to the needs of others. I'm o.k. just the way that I am." We need to start confronting "self-righteousness" in our world with the same force that Jesus confronted it in His day. We don't do that by attacking the Church. We do that by addressing sin and the need of a savior!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Response To The Names Of God

At The Pastors' Prayer Summit that I attended last week we were given an assignment to review the names of God in the Old Testament and to reflect on their significance. Below are the names of God and the my response to them:

Yahweh Tsidkenu -- I Am Your Righteousness
Yahweh M'Kaddesh -- I Am Your Sanctification
Yahweh Shalom -- I Am Your Peace
Yahweh Shammah -- I Am There
Yahweh Rophe -- I Am Your Healer
Yahweh Jireh -- I Am Your Provision
Yahweh Nissi -- I Am Your Banner
Yahweh Rohi -- I Am Your Shepherd

Lord, if you are all of these things for me, then there is only one thing left for me to say,
"I am a welfare recipient!"
It makes no sense to work for any of these things -- God has provided for all of them.
However, if I don't work, I will dry up.
I will have no fruit in my life.
I will be miserable.
I will be so much less than what His generous welfare has provided for me to become.
If I lay around and do nothing, I will become sick and of no use to your kingdom.
I will become a drain rather than a fountain.

God, thank you for offering me all of the assistance of your Kingdom.
You have offered it willingly.
You have offered it with the hope that I will accept it.
You have offered it, not to keep me in emotional, psychological, and  physical poverty, but to lift me out of it so that I can tell others how to sign up.

Keep me from feeling shame for accepting these benefits!
They are meant for my welfare so that I can be used to help the welfare of the Kingdom.
Thank you.
You never kick your kids off of your assistance!
You never even cut it back!
The payments just keep getting bigger!
I've served you in ministry for 30 years now.
You have always provided.
I don't need you to provide less now -- I need you to provide more than ever!
Not because I have squandered your benefits, but because I have used them up!
I have advanced in your kingdom and find myself facing greater enemies, and greater needs!
There is no hope of getting off of your welfare program.
Help me to realize that is a good thing, and not a sign of failure!
I'm not supposed to be self-sufficient!
I'm not supposed to pull myself up by my own bootstraps!

I'm supposed to be your dependent!
I'm supposed to expect you to reach down into the waves and pull me up!

I'm drowning dad!
I need your help!
These waves are too big for me!
I'm in way over my head!

I'll try not to fight you.
I'll try to relax.
I'll try to breath.

Please hurry.