Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Life is Messy - But God Made Us Washable

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Sometimes life is messy
1 Corinthians 10: 31 
So whether you eat 
or drink or 
whatever you do, 
do it all for the glory of God. 

This morning I over slept and used my time to practice piano for my up coming lesson rather than writing. At that time I was not really sure what I wanted to write about. On the drive to lessons we were listening to Christian radio and a song played that talked about theres nothing in this world that I want. Then another song came on that pretty much talked about how life sucks and I can't wait to get to heaven. It was much more poetic than my version.  I guess it kind of pushed some buttons of mine. 

It is so easy because something has a catchy tune to go along with the message and buy it hook line and sinker when if we were to stop and think about the message and how it really squares with the bible we might be less likely to sing that song with such sheep like acceptance.

My first thought on the song about there being nothing in this life that I want was. Was really? That might be your wishful thought but I have not really met many people that even come close to that level of dis attachement from this world. I'm not sure that Jesus has even asked to try to arrive at some nirvana like state of spirituality. Really if we were not to talke part in this life in some way, he might as well take us to heaven at the moment of conversion.  He leaves us here to grow among the weeds, and thorns, the trials, the temptations, the sins, of this world. Take a look at Philippians 2:12 -16
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."  Even Jesus in Matthew 6:10 says "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven".  


He left us here for a reason to not just buy holy Jesus, fire insurance and hang on by our fingernails till he sweeps us up into heaven. "Some bright morning when this life is over - I'll fly away". 
Please don't miss understand me - I'm sure heaven will be glorious but I don't want to get there one day too soon. I get to spend eternity there - I have only a limited number of years here to know Jesus from this vantage point.  I don't think he left me here to sit on a hill and wait for his return. He left me here to bring about his kingdom. I am supposed to be like salt - that seasons, and preserves. I am supposed to be like a light set up on a stand - not cowering behind the four walls of my safe little church environment.  I am supposed to be like a city on a hill that can be seen from miles around. I am supposed to be visible and active and part of this world that he created. If my focus in this life is just getting to heaven, I might as well be about re arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic - cause everyone knows this ship is going down. Right? Well...why then did Jesus bother to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, to cause the lame to walk, to set the sinners and the captives free. He did not just turn to those folks and say "ok now I've cleaned you up and fixed you - heres your ticket cause this train is a mighty fine train and its bound for glory. No!, He sent all of those folks back out to their lives to help make a way for His Kingdom and His glory to be revealed here and now in and through each of us. Not some day, we are not just left at river bank to wait for Michael to come row his boat ashore to take me across to heaven.  Today is the day, this is the life we have been given. What are we doing to show his justice, his mercy, his compassion to a world of broken people who desperately need what Jesus has freely given to each of us. 

I suppose my biggest gripe with the whole rapture of the church mentality is that it causes people to live in a state of this ships going down so why bother doing anything. We all to often get a bad case of short timers attitude.  We are done with this gig so why bother. WAKE UP!!! I'm not here to argue end times views as far as I am concerned we are all in our own personal end times we only have so many days allotted to each of our lives. I don't think God intended for us to sit around waiting for someday. He gave me today and none of us knows how many days beyond today we will have. I love Rich Mullins quote that says, "Live like you'll die tomorrow. Die knowing you'll live forever"

I have to constantly keep the perspective that I have been called, anointed, appointed to do something for Gods glory during my life. What are the footprints that I am leaving behind for others to follow. 
I guess my point is - my reason for wanting heaven is simply because Jesus will be there, but bottom line is that I have Jesus here today. I don't have to wait for someday in heaven, I have all that I need in Jesus today and every day.  I would rather get to heaven and be sharing countless stories with him. Remember when we overcame that ____ together. He might say "Remember when you were covered in sin and I came and I washed away the mud". "Remember how we fought that giant of dispair together.  Remember when we prayed together for that discouraged person and they found the courage and the hope to carry on. Remember that one smile - did you know that it touched a thousand people that day. Did you know that obnoxious kid you took the time to pay attention to grew up and cared for a generation of other kids". I want to get to heaven and have some stuff to talk about, some stuff to celebrate. 

I tell my kids that you don't live life by watching it on the TV or on the computer. You live it when you decide to go out and take part in it.  You become great at it when you fall down and God picks you back up and pats you on the butt and says "I sure love you - go back out and try that again. I know you will do better this time."  Instead we avoid real life because we are so insecure in our righteousness that we are afraid that every little thing is going to trip us up and sully us for our grand appearance in heaven. 

Jesus knows that we are all works in progress. I tell my music students that I coach vocally to sing loud so I can hear them. When I can hear them I can fix what needs fixed. So live loud and Jesus will help you fix and adjust along the way. Get out there and live and learn to be thankful for the trials and the joys because both are working God's purposes in our life.

1 Corinthians 10: 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

God created this amazing world for us. How can we think that holiness requires that we shut ourselves up away from it. We are to live holy lives out in the world, not up in some holy commune or cloister.  Jesus wants to be part of every moment of every day - He is to be to us like the air that we breathe a part of it all. Holiness is not separating ourselves from this life but making room in our heart, life and world and inviting Jesus in to it so that we might enjoy it together.

Luke 10:27(NIV)  27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” 


Prayer: Dear Lord, 

Help us get off the side lines and into the game. Help us to not just check our brains at the door. Help us to know the joys and the sorrows as we learn to love you each and every day here in this world. I know you are preparing a place in heaven for me but I want to live this life to the fullest. I want to experience it first hand not live vicariously through the lives of others in a tv box.  Nor do I want to cower in secret - help me to live life loudly for your glory. Thank you that when I fall that I know you will be there to pick me up and to send me back out to live for you. Thank you that although this life is messy - you made us washable.


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