Saturday, October 22, 2016
Christ calls this process of step-by-step accommodation to wrong choices, thoughts and actions ‘building your house on sand,’ and He prophesies that such a house can only expect to be swept away in one final, great storm. Still, it is a mystery to me that anyone would choose this way for themselves and not feel bad about it, not feel guilty. Where is their conscience?
Now, here’s another strange thing. We all think we’re good. ‘What?’ you gasp, ‘What are you saying? We are good… at least most of the time, at least when people are watching, at least, at least… at least we try.’ I listen to myself, helplessly, seeing all my pennants of righteousness droop and hang limp as the winds of self-justification die down.
Even Christ, answering His flatterers as a man, admits, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God,’ shattering once and for all the very possibility that we could ever be what God alone is—that is, on our own. ‘Yes, Christ was, and is, good,’ we insist, ‘but He is God. He couldn’t help Himself,’ not realizing that we have just theologized.
Right, He couldn’t help Himself, but He can help us, yes, those people who ‘consistently choose to do what is wrong’ as well as us, who pitter-patter along the path of self-destruction but are too cowardly to join those others who don’t fear to be flaming offenders. This is the rehabilitation that reaches out to us from a real God.
And this is the precise proof that all that the Bible tells us about ourselves is true: Rather than reaching out to the real God our half way (which is actually a half-millionth of His reaching half way to us), we try every other regimen of rehabilitation we can find or invent, from psychotherapy to self-realisation, from Alcoholics Anonymous to… you name it.
Not that any or all of our efforts are camouflages rather than cures, but that without Him they are poor, paltry, pathetic playing at problems instead of facing them, and no wonder. Without Christ’s help, we cannot even lift a finger to help ourselves. There can be no ifs, ands, or buts in the matter. We just have to do it. What is it that we have to do?
No matter how deep the pit is into which we have fallen, we must believe that Christ is there, that He has entered our personal Hades and cleared it like a threshing floor of its dead, yes, of our dead, all those things in us, about us, with us, that have made our lives so intolerably heavy that we’ve sunken even through solid rock, yes, He is even with us there.
He says, ‘If only you will hear My voice, for I am with you, if only you would hear My voice, for I have begotten you, I have redeemed you, I have prepared a place for you, I am calling you as I called My beloved friend Lazarus. If only you would hear My voice, and follow Me, for Mine are the ways of escape from destruction and death.’
Blessed are those who run when He calls, but it is always our choice where to run. He is mercy to those who run to Him, and judgment to those who run away. If we have fallen, then even that will be counted a blessing, for it is He who lifts us up, who raises us up with Him, if only we will hear His voice, and follow Him who says, ‘Come out!’
at 9:16 PM