Sunday, November 8, 2009

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage…

…so that now as always Christ will be exalted…” Philippians 1:20.

Last night, I began reading the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. I’ve heard a lot about this book, and how it will challenge your thinking and help you if you’re struggling with how to move beyond being a “lukewarm Christian.” It is a difficult realization to come to, but really, how many of us are living fully for Christ? I say this as someone who struggles every day with that reality. Too many times I am overcome by the daily lists and challenges and fall on my tendency to try and handle it myself. Then, when I’m out of gas at the end of the day, I’m sitting there, trying to focus on the maker of the universe. I know I have it backwards, and I’m praying for the hammer to hit me over the head and help me clear the clutter to change my focus.

I didn’t even make it out of the preface of the book before something reached into my very core and took hold:

Chan writes, "I hope reading this book will convince you of something: that by
surrendering yourself totally to God’s purposes, He will bring you
the most pleasure in this life and the next. I hope it affirms your
desire for “more God”—even if you are surrounded by people who
feel they have “enough God.”

Wow, when I read that I had to restrain myself from shouting (my hubby was asleep). I DO feel that way and that is one of the things I struggle with. I do feel sometimes surrounded by people who believe they have enough God. And I find myself longing for more. I prayed over those words as I drifted off to sleep last night. Those words burned into me – I saw them over and over in my sleep during the night. When I woke this morning, I knew something had stuck and I’m really excited.

And then this morning, as we sat in church listening to a message that was centered on living our lives with the grace that is so freely given to us in Jesus, I thought wow, this is precisely what God wants me to hear as I begin this book. Hearing that we are commanded to shine His light through our lives, living with no fear or regret and filled with compassion. Yes, Lord, that IS what I want my life to be for you.

Our pastor highlighted this verse in Philippians, and it just jumped out of my Bible at me. How many times do I suppress what I really believe because of the surroundings? How often am I fearful of being bold in my faith because of who I am with? I pray for forgiveness and strength to live my life in a way that I will in no way be ashamed but will have sufficient courage – every moment, every day. In a way that is filled with Crazy Love for Jesus!