I’m Human

I’m stuck.

I’m sad.

I’m lonely.

I’m depressed.

I’m confused.

I’m angry.

I’m hurt.

Not all the time, but sometimes..

And so I’m very human.

That’s okay.

Because I’m loved by Him.

And what love the Father has lavished on me..

That I should be called His beloved child.

It’s enough.

All will be well.

Random Thoughts on Baptism and my 10yo

baptism

I was listening to a John Piper message the other day on Christian Hedonism, which says God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him. And he was defining what saving faith is. He said it’s this turning from darkness to light. And it’s important to know: it’s not like you turn to the Light and then see the Light as boring and bland and blah. There is this very supernatural change that takes place where your heart is drawn to see Christ as all-satisfying. He uses this phrase I’ve heard him say over and over again: “seeing and savoring Christ.”

And it got me thinking of Baptism in general and my 10 year old child. He watched several baptisms take place at our church this past Sunday. I asked him what he thought on the way home,  and without prompting, he said he wanted to get baptized. I was delighted but also skeptical, mainly thinking of my own faith journey. I pressed him with some questions. He said he wanted Christ to be his Lord and Savior, and seemed to have a loose understanding of things. And yet what I was trying to get him to understand was essentially what Piper captures in that phrase: “seeing and savoring Christ.”

Is that an inward reality or is this just a mere religious next step? 

Is this “seeing and savoring Christ” what happens when one is saved or is it something less? While it certainly comes in degrees, I think saving faith is certainly nothing less than a heart that is captivated by Christ. A baby Christians still craves the milk of the Word just as much as an adult. If there isn’t this craving element noted, and say only the fear of missing out or the fear of hell or of disappointing mommy and daddy, than I think we should be suspect of whether it’s a real saving faith that has taken place. And therefore getting baptized should be on hold.

It’s one thing to say you believe in Jesus, even nodding yes to him as being your Lord and Savior. But it’s another to say you see Christ as all-satisfying. That’s why I love what Piper says here: That you see and savor Christ. That there’s this inner supernatural reality of a heart turned to Christ.

If this inner reality – this inner craving of Christ – hasn’t taken place, then I’m not convinced the outward act of baptism should be entertained. Baptism is an outward demonstration that you have died with Christ and have risen with Him, but not risen to just go off and find Jesus bland and boring. But risen and united to Christ, seeing him as all satisfying and satiating. To that person, you don’t have to prompt why he/she wants to get baptized. He wants to because he wants to be identified with Christ at the deepest and most profound level.

I don’t wish to get drawn into the baptism debate. And this isn’t meant to be a critique on anyone who got baptized reading this. I love every step that celebrates what Christ has done. This is just my personal thoughts and inclinations. I have friends and admired pastors on both sides of the aisle. I realize it’s not so easy a thing to nail down. It’s one of those agree to disagree kind of things. But I do think it’s something that shouldn’t be rushed into by any stretch. I think it could hurt the individual more than anything and even the body of Christ at large. I’m content to wait and see if my son truly has the marks of this both seeing a savoring Christ, however immature it might look..

 

Living Life Backward

backward

I recently finished David Gibson’s book LIVING LIFE BACKWARD. It’s a book that explores the wisdom found in Ecclesiastes. I wanted to read this book after my counselor alluded to the book of Ecclesiastes.

I was experiencing what I called a “low-grade depression” or simply a “funk.” We all experience this to some degree from time to time, but this time it felt much stronger and harder to shake.

This book essentially re-oriented me to reality. All the sadness and disappointment I was feeling was to be expected. Nothing is out of the normal.. everything is exactly as expected in a world shattered by sin and where we are all returning to dust.

We tend to live life forward, dreaming and planning and hoping big things. Which is all well and good to some extent. But the problem is we can become overly optimistic and when things don’t go as hoped, it can leave us feeling bitter and cynical and confused…and perhaps with a low-grade depression such that I was feeling.

You wouldn’t think to give someone who was becoming cynical or depressed a book that repeats over and over that “life is vanity” and that “no one will ever remember you.” But this is exactly the medicine I needed. I didn’t need to be told everything will be fine. I needed reminded of reality and then to plan life backwards, live life backwards from the fact of death. And then get busy enjoying the life and grace that God had given me now.

Ecclesiastes teaches us to live life backwards. Says the author:

It encourages us to take the one thing in the future that is certain – our death – and work backward from that point into all the details and decisions and heartaches of our lives, and to think about them from the perspective of the end.”

So instead of living in what Ray Ortlund terms “shallow optimism” and “bitter cynicism,” you can live in the simple wisdom found in Ecclesiastes.

And right now that looks principally like two things:

  1. Stop pretending. Gibson says, we spend our lives trying to escape the constraints of our created condition…but we avoid this reality by playing let’s pretend. I recognized how I attempt to break the cycle of repetitiveness and ordinariness and so achieve greater satisfaction. I perhaps become too optimistic in my thinking, dreaming and doing. Ecclesiastes teaches you that there is nothing new, no one will remember you or even your children, and to embrace the rhythmical repetition and constraints of our lives that we think isn’t right. It is indeed “right” (in the sense that the world is broken by sin, yet redeemed by Christ) and now we can move forward in wisdom.
  2. Think gift, not gain. The conclusion of Ecclesiastes is this simple yet profound wisdom: “the gift of God does not make this meaningless go away; the gift of God makes this vanity enjoyable.” Here’s the Preacher’s prescription for living the good life, from Ecclesiastes 2:24. It’s not “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die (for that is all there is).” It’s “eat, drink and be merry (because that is what there is).” We live in the simple wisdom that all life is a gift and grace and find satisfaction in simple gifts and things in life, like food and work and people. Not to leverage these things for gain, but enjoy them for itself. This wisdom is so simple you can miss it.

So think through this and ask, “am I living life forward (out of step with reality, discontent) or backwards (in step with reality, greater contentment and joy)?”