Monday, November 3, 2008

Not a Big Deal

Ever have one of those days where you put your foot in your mouth? I think I have those a lot.

It's days like this that remind me how much of a big deal I'm not. I think the beginnings of Christianity in my life started when I realized this fact: I have nothing to offer God that He hasn't already given. This realization led to every other decision I have made in my walk with Jesus.

Over the last 2-3 years I've really been studying the Sermon on the Mount a lot. I just love it. I can't read enough about it. It's like my creed as a Christian; at least I want it to be. Lately I've been reading "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" by Dr. Lloyd-Jones, and this book is amazing. He does a sermon on every beatitude, and I'm eating it up.

My favorite beatitude has to be the very first one, "blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs."

I love this one because without this Christianity means nothing, but with it it means everything. Unless I realize my helplessness before God, Jesus is just some guy who got tortured and killed a long time ago. But if I am truly lost, He means immeasurably more than that. He has literally saved my life.

I love the way Jones put it:

"If one feels anything in the presence of God save an utter poverty of spirit, it ultimately means that you have never faced Him."

I am reminded of this so often, and the times I have this attitude are the times I truly give myself to God. It's when my life becomes about me that everything breaks down. In mentoring younger Christians, I can't even tell you how many times I wish I could be direct and say as lovingly as possible, "Look. You're not a big deal. But it's ok. It's time to stop faking to yourself and everybody around you that you're awesome. There's no need to pretend, because none of us are a big deal. We're all sinners, and that means we're all equal. The sooner you realize this very important fact the better your life will be, and the happier you'll make it for the rest of us to be around you."

But I guess that would be too blunt, huh? I guess this is one of those uncomfortable truths that we don't really like to talk about.


doug young said...

Josh...I would highly recommend that you grab a copy of Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy" ASAP. It is essentially, a treatise on The Sermon on the Mount. I haven't read Jones's work, so I can't compare the two, but I can say that I have yet to read anything that centers on the SOTM that is remotely similar to what is offered by Willard. I haven't found anyone who has read The Divine Conspiracy who has read anything like it. It help me make sense of the entire Bible!

Joshua Tucker said...

Doug, I've actually read part of the book but never finished. I guess it's so huge I've just never had the time. But, I just bought it on audio book and now I'm listening to it online. Thanks for the recommendation.

Paul Ford said...

I like what you say, and your humble attitude in which you say it. I am now "following" you on my list of blogs. I will continue to read through some of your writings.

You are correct that we must read the teachings of Jesus, and pattern our lives after his word. On our own, as you say, we are nothing. But thanks be to Jesus and His father, we are "fellow heirs" of His promise.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Paul said...

I second the motion to read "The Divine Conspiracy" by Willard. One of the mistakes I made when I first approached the SOTM was to try to dissect every word and phrase. Like I mentioned to you last week, when you dissect something, first you have to kill it. I believe that is what I did to the SOTM at first. But when you back up and see it in its context and scope of Matthew, it is a marvel to behold.