Real life comes when we make knowing and enjoying God our primary passion (Romans 8:6). There are words in the Bible that often need explaining before we are impacted by them. "Flesh" makes us think "skin," but it means "self" as in "I'm comfortable in my own skin."The mind set on self is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (The Message).
- The root of all evil, focus on self, is hared by us all.
Today, April 20, is an infamous date. It was on this date in 1889 that Adolph Hitler was born. Hitler is considered the epitome of evil, but he said, "I am absolutely and personally convinced of the great power and the deep significance of the Christian religion." There is in all of us the same root of evil that caused Hitler to murder millions of Jews. Today is also the ninth anniversary of the Columbine shooting. Two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a shooting rampage, killing 12 students and a teacher, and wounding 23 others, before committing suicide. Dr. Larry Crabb said that day: We will not get far in understanding what went wrong with those young men until we recognize the same seed of evil in ourselves. As long as we sit back in horror and try to figure out their problem and what we can do about it without first recognizing the fundamental flaw in ourselves, our theories about evil will remain comfortably shallow. We'll speak of poor socialization, peer pressure, uninvolved parenting, genetic defect or the influence of media, music and the movies—anything but the radical self-centeredness that, except for Jesus, would keep all of us out of heaven." Larry Crabb.
- The remedy for evil is God becoming our primary passion.
This is the message of Jesus. When he looked at tired, worn-out people who in their despair and rage felt justified in doing whatever relieved their pain, he said to them: "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You're actually blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you (second things). Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you (first thing). You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He is food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. (Paraphrase; Matthew 5:3-6). Ask yourself:
- Do I really see the benefit of letting go of that which I hold dear?
- Am I content with who I am or does my joy depend on my physical shape, the possessions I have, my kids, etc.
- Do I really want God more than anything else?
- Do I honestly believe I'd know real joy if I just had Him and nothing else?
If "no" is the answer to the questions, then God, for our good, will one day break us.
- The reality of God becoming my soul's passion can happen through Soul Talk.
Thomas Aquinas once said that human beings end up crashing on one of two roads: Either we live to get a good we think we need, or we live to enjoy a good we think we have. Real peace comes when we die to those "goods" and enjoy God while loving others. Larry Crabb tells the story of a mother who is depressed because she (the mother) is not losing enough weight. Left unchecked, Mom will kill her own daughter's soul. Focus on self kills. We are the nobodies. We wanna be somebodies. That's our problem.