Sunday, September 30, 2012

Near and Far

This morning, I was extremely tempted to sleep in and not go to church. I had lots of excuses.
1. I woke up too late...Now I only have 20 minutes to get ready.
2. I'll listen to a sermon online.
3. No one is going with me.
4. I haven't slept all week.
5. I'll do quiet time on my own
6. No one knows....
7. I have lots of homework....

The list went on....and on... and on.

But. I knew I needed to go. That's what you do, right?  Good Christians go to church. It pleases God....

"If I go to church, I will be honoring the Sabbath. and that's in the top ten.. so it's gotta be what I'm supposed to do. I have to go. I want to do what I'm supposed to. It's the right thing. It will please God if I go. If I don't go, it could become a habit. It can't become a habit. I have to stay in church. I won't become one of those statistics of college students who suddenly never go to church again. ugh. So I will get up. Oh, look, now I only have 15 minutes. That's not possible. Maybe I'll just not go. Besides, I'm probably going home next weekend and going to my church anyway. Nope, I have to go. I'm supposed to go.  Get up, Taylor. Go to church. If you want to keep pleasing God, go. It's what you are supposed to do."

so I went. not with the right motives, but I went. And I'm really glad I did and that God uses even the worst of motives for His glory. Because He is good. and He wanted to teach me something.

The pastor opened with a story about Grover on Sesame Street doing a segment called "Near and Far" He said that Grover gets close to the camera while whispering "This is near" and then goes as war back as possible and shouts "THIS IS FAR".
He then asked us a question: "For you, is salvation- is God- near, or far?"
He showed this picture on the screen:
He said that so many people see their walk with God as this ladder.  That we try to get to God. We try to please Him by doing a series of things that we think we are supposed to do. We have formulas of what we think good Christians are supposed to do.   We do everything in our power to please Him. Each thing gets us one rung closer to God, and we think when we mess  up we fall down a few steps. Then we have to do extra to get back not only to where we were, but past it.  

As if God wasn't already directly talking to me, he then showed this picture:

He said sometimes we see our walk with God like this shovel. That God is so big and so mysterious. That He is full of unsearchable Truths. We have to dig deep, and work unearth these Truths, piece by piece. There are so many mysteries that we have to peel them back in layers of His character. We do whatever it takes to search these Truths out and just when we think we have gotten to the Treasure, we realize it is still far away, so we dig more. We work harder to get to the end of this treasure hunt, and we think that maybe, just  maybe if we get enough knowledge, enough of the right tools, and dig deep enough into what we think, then we will find one or two truths about God. But we also think that we will never really find God. He's unsearchable.

Now, God was speaking to me even more. Just last night, I posted a blog about me trying to search the layers of God's character. Trying to dig deep into the knowledge I have of Him to figure out what this new layer of Him was. And I had thought that no matter how much I search, I was never going to truly find Him. That He is too complicated.

The pastor read Romans 10: 6-10

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down)  “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

These verses are referencing Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (Don't you love how the Bible fits perfectly together?)

This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach.  It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’  It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’  No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

This  is SO incredibly not about us, about me. I canNOT do anything to please God. I don't have to climb and climb and climb to somehow get myself to Him. I don't have to do a series of things that I think will get me closer. I also don't have to search and search and search to find Him.  He's not a mystery treasure that is impossible to find. I don't have to dig and  dig to get little tiny pieces of His truth,ultimately never finding Him.  It is ALL about Him, and what He did for me. God isn't far away, because Jesus came near. Jesus came down from paradise and lived on earth with us. He breathed in our polluted air. He walked our streets that were made of dirt, instead  of His streets of gold. He became one of us. He lived here. He understood what it was like to be here. He knew. he knows.

I can know Him, because He knows me. Not because I try to learn about Him. He knows everything about me. He is not far away. He is Yahweh.  He has been trying to teach me that, and apparently, I needed another reminder this morning. He is personal. He keeps his covenant. I can't do anything. He did everything.

Give me a heart like Mary. I've got the Martha part covered. I have tried for weeks to please You with my actions. I have believed the lie that I need to DO instead of BE. Remind me also that I don't have to look very far to find you. I don't have to dig and dig and dig.. You are right here. always. Because You are Yahweh. Even when I mess up, You still show up. I'm sorry that I have tried to earn Your favor or whatever it is I'm trying to earn. I can't earn anything. No more climbing to get to You, because You already came to me. No more digging, because You aren't hidden, and You reveal Yourself to me when I ask. You came near. You are near. You aren't far. ever.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

No comments: