July 14th, 2004


Bring it

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is not, "Do your duty," but is, in effect, "Do what is not your duty." It is not your duty to go the second mile, or to turn the other cheek, but Jesus said that if we are His disciples, we will always do these things. We will not say, "Oh well, I just can’t do any more, and I’ve been so misrepresented and misunderstood." Every time I insist on having my own rights, I hurt the Son of God, while in fact I can prevent Jesus from being hurt if I will take the blow myself. That is the real meaning of filling "up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ..." (Colossians 1:24). A disciple realizes that it is his Lord’s honor that is at stake in his life, not his own honor.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (14 July,"Suffering Afflictions and Going the Second Mile")

This gets me to thinking about self-pity, a frequent indulgence of mine. Isn't it always a sin? I'm beginning to think so. And I mean sin (both here and elsewhere) not just as "something bad I do," but further in the sense of choosing to live something that isn't true. That's an understanding of sin that goes powerfully beyond mere moralism—one of the most compelling reasons for Christians to walk in freedom from sin is that we know and are known by the Truth, and that ain't it.

So, knowing who I am in Christ, am I ever to be pitied? I am a child of the King, and all that He has is mine. No good thing is withheld from me. Does that sound like someone to be pitied?

That doesn't mean there aren't losses or suffering or mourning. That, too, is a part of the blessing, of my identity, of the truth—knowing who I am in Christ, should I ever run from suffering? Do I have anything to fear from it? Because I know there is much to be gained there, a sweet fellowship with my Lord that He invites me into.

Even so, part of me is afraid to pray these truths be realized in my life. I'm afraid of running out—of time, of energy, of money, of love. I'm afraid of being left behind, of the possibility that, when all is said and done, maybe I'm still an orphan rather than a son, that I'll have nothing if I don't look out for myself and grab what I can. I'm afraid that He isn't my Abba, or He isn't strong enough, or good enough to give me all that's been promised, anything I could ever imagine or desire or hope. Giving leads to suffering because I am limited, and that still scares me.

If I follow Him anyway, letting Him speak the truth against my fears, I can rest assured that the second mile is coming, that I'll be feeling the sting on both of my cheeks to come. The truth says, "Bring it."
  • Current Mood
    peaceful peaceful

Coming home (to)

Tonight would have been a good night to have someone to come home to. Silly, trivial, meaningless things drug me to the end of my rope today. It shouldn't be hard to recover, but a day like this reminds me of how good it can be to have someone who knows me, who can be present with me, who can hear me in spoken and unspoken ways. I have more peace with being single than many people I know, but I won't pretend there isn't a difference. A little dinner might help my disposition.

Still, it would have been nice.
  • Current Mood
    lonely lonely