September 23, 2009

The Man in the Mirror

"If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and make the change."

Wise words from the late Michael Jackson's song "Man in the Mirror."

"If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off."

Wise, albeit disturbing words from Jesus in Mark's Gospel.

At our pastor's study yesterday we bounced all over the text for Sunday. We talked about children. We talked about competition. We talked about how weird and choppy the Esther text is. But our energy was around this idea that sanctification is not a passive process. And it goes both ways.

M. told the story of a trouble maker in his church who the elders ignored for a long, long time. Finally, he could be ignored no more and upon reflection they realized that their passivity had been the stumbling block for this man's journey of faith. Sometimes you've got to tell the truth in love.

The other side of that is, if you aren't happy with your relationship with God, YOU have to do something about it. Miracles happen, but more often real change occurs because a person, having discerned the will of God, got off their butt and did it. You want to hear God's voice? Well then find a quiet space and time and listen. You want to overcome your lust? How about stepping away from the computer screen filled with pornographic images.

This sounds awfully close to self-help, which I abhor in the church. And so I feel like I have to clarify. These changes are all God-help because God is the instigator. The desire to hear God's voice comes from God - the time and space to do it, well that's up to you. The desire to eliminate recurring sins from your life comes from God - actually doing it, well that's gotta be on you.

If its your hand - cut it off
Foot - cut it off
Eye - pluck it out

Want to get rid of that sin that keeps showing up, the thing my friend Erin calls "Uncle Baggage"? Well let it know it isn't welcome anymore. Take a look at yourself in the light of Christ and make the change.

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