Monday, October 3, 2011

If You Can't Be a Good Example...

There's this saying that I love, and it goes, "If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning." I was thinking about it yesterday sitting in church listening to the sermon. Our pastor has been "sitting down with the patriarchs" (Matthew 8:11) and although Joseph isn't mentioned in that NT verse, he is including him in our studies. Listen to the sermon by clicking here. Or read the notes by clicking here.

One of the things that stands out as you study these patriarchs--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and Joseph) is that they've got troubles! Bro. David went so far as to say that they are messed up. It's true. They were jealous, deceptive liars who allowed their families to be terribly effected by their disobedience to God. By the time we get to Joseph in the story, the tale is riddled with the tender pain of jealousy along with outright hatred; Joseph's brothers are murderous. They didn't get there by themselves; they had their reasons and in the end Joseph gets to say, "God meant it for good." But why, why, why do these "godly" people act this way? Why did God choose to include story after story of blatant failure in the Bible?

I've heard more than one atheist/agnostic throw up the fact that the men and women of the Bible did this or that and ask how we (Christians) can call them sinners. I can see their point.

Lately, Keeleigh and I have been working our way through the character trait "Attentiveness" in our KONOS studies. We've learned how the ears and eyes function and KONOS also gives us a spiritual connection by directing us to specific Bible verses and Biblical accounts such as the one we read today--Saul's conversion. I've been fascinated by the way our eyes see and God has highlighted verse after verse for me about eyes, seeing, light, and blindness. I've been reading through the book of John and it's been one of those times when it's something that you've read or heard many times before but it just seems to take on a whole new meaning all of a sudden. Last night I read chapter 9 about Jesus healing a man born blind and verse 39 jumped off the page at me. It says, "Jesus said, 'For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind." Verses 40 and 41 continue, "Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, 'Are we also blind?' Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but not that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains.'"

I fear more of us claim we see though we're blind than we even know.

So I'm trying to process all this and I know I don't want to be like the Pharisees who missed the whole point altogether. I don't really particularly want to be like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all that much either because, c'mon, who wants to be messed up?! But you know what? I am. I am not perfect; I've made lots of mistakes and probably have a lot more to make. My family is not perfect; sometimes we do things that hurt each other. But I see that God recorded these Old Testament to serve as the horrible warning that we can never measure up. We'll never be good much less good enough. The purpose of the Law was to point that out.

Thank You, God, that You didn't leave it at that! We do have a good example to follow: Jesus. And more than anything that's Who I want to look to, to never shift my gaze from. I want to be a REAL Christian. I want to embody true love and servant-hood. I don't want to get so hung up on myself that all I can do is pick at everyone else's specks (Matthew 7:1-5) which I'm so prone to doing. I want to open my eyes and let all the Light in.

"...'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12


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