Tuesday, July 6, 2010

God's Chisel

Jesus.  His name tends to evoke emotion in people that you try to save for behind closed doors - however, whatever your feeling on the subject, Jesus is a powerful name.

I'm going to assume, whether or not you have a relationship with him as the Bible would define it, that you in fact believe that Jesus existed.  That Jesus, in fact did die on the cross and three days later rose again.  The Bible of course tells us about this, but so do other writings from people who were NOT Jesus followers such as Josephus.  Anyway, moving on...

When I talk to people who "don't believe," I tend to see a couple commonalities among them.  First and foremost that they have been hurt by people who are, or say they are, Christians.  Second, they feel a sense of inadequacy - like they will never live up to what God wants them to be...that they will let Him down.

To address the first quickly - Christians are people and people mess up sometimes.  The difference between a hypocrite and a person who messed up is the heart attitude.  A hypocrite says, "live this way even though I'm not and don't plan to," and a person who messed up is one who says, "I totally messed up.  I'm sorry, will you forgive me?"  If you have been hurt by someone who falls into the hypocrite category, I'm sorry.  Please try to not allow those people to define God for you, for He is not a hypocrite.

Secondly - Jesus did not come for the healthy, beautiful people.  He came for the gross, hated, messed up people.  He came for the tax collectors (we still don't like 'em) and the prostitutes and the rough and stinky fisherman.  He came to heal the sick, not to tend to the pious wants of the self-perceived perfect people - as it talks about in Mark 2:
15-16Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. The religion scholars and Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company and lit into his disciples: "What kind of example is this, acting cozy with the riffraff?"  17Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I'm here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit."

A long time ago, before I had children, I heard an illustration about God.  When I haven't been around my kids for awhile and I go to pick them up if they are dirty, what do I do?  When the run to me to give me a hug, do I hold them at arms length and make them take a bath first?  No!  I embrace them, because I've missed them more than they have missed me - who cares about the dirt!  I will wash it off later.  I embrace them, tell them how I love them, and then I give them a bath.  If I held them at arms length and only embraced them after they were spotless, I wouldn't be a very loving parent.  God is a loving Dad.  He doesn't wait for us to be clean and perfect before He takes us in.  He takes us covered with grossness and faults and embraces us for all that we are...and then he begins to chisel away, but only after He has taken us in.

You are not too dirty or imperfect for Jesus!  You are His masterpiece - His work of art.  He knew you before you were born, as it says in Psalm 139:13:

 13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
      you formed me in my mother's womb.
   I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
      I worship in adoration—what a creation!
   You know me inside and out,
      you know every bone in my body;
   You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
   The days of my life all prepared
      before I'd even lived one day.

Jesus loves you - dirt and all.  Here's a clip that speaks to what I am trying to say...if you have a few minutes, take the time to's great.


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