‘The Chandler Effect’: one of my old posts from April.09

It’s about time I begin updating this more often. It’s not even for the external views, not to look any certain way to my social circles.  No, it helps my memory. If I expose things on here, it helps me remember, it helps my mind stay focused, and it helps my experiences materialize into something tangible that I can come back to, rather than relying on my gradually worsening memory. And if someone reads this and asks questions, that’s great. Otherwise, it can be a place where things are still posted and organized and represent a part of myself. It has been shown to me that my tendency at Mars Hill is to assume I’ve got it all put together, like I am learning every tiny little detail available to the world about our God. I eat it up, and I swallow, choke, and look like a fool in the end. The truth is I know far less than I think I do; and even then, we never can know everything about God, and if I make learning about God greater than knowing him and giving him glory for his power, presence, and perfection, I have seriously misplaced what is important.

Listening to pastor Matt Chandler has been continually convicting to me, especially during these recent times. God has used him to preach the Gospel with passion and humor, while still maintaining deep theological truths and clarity. I have truly benefitted from his teaching as his podcast reaches across the nation. There are times when the minutia can become ultimate and I lose sight of the grace of God in my life and the depth of my sin. Particularly recently, it has become apparent to me how big of a deal sin truly is–God is grieved, angered, and troubled by it, and he ultimately came to accept the punishment we deserve for every instance we’ve replaced God with one of our own, even ourselves. Chandler clarifies for me that idolatry is a heavy problem! We’ve rejected every offering that our loving God has graciously given and have chosen to go other directions.  Like others, I sin and perhaps do not feel the weight I should, and I go on believing I’m just a “good person” that occasionally messes up.  As Chandler points out, “we are only good if there is no Holy God!” Plus, it is not just the way we act that makes us sinners–this is a reflection of our motivations! Sin is an “inward essence” that then allows us to choose all the various bad actions that we do–he calls it a “fractured soul.” That is surely me, yet I never think it to be true. All my separation from God cost Jesus a life complete with mockery, slander, lies, doubt, and murder from others like me. Yes, this is personal. Like the overflow of the God’s trinitarian love that invites us into relationship with Father, Son, and Spirit, our rejection of this relationship and the sin that ensues is equally personal!

I have denied the truths of the Bible because I constantly think I can pull things off alone. I think more study, more effort, and more busyness will cure my problems. I think I can pull through whatever difficulty there is, and I am mistaken. May God crush my pride and cowardice, and may I turn to Jesus for all strength, help, selflessness, sacrifice, and love.

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