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I like to think…

November 23, 2013

ImageRelax and stare at the four dots in the center of the above pic for 30 or more seconds.

Then stare at a blank, solid, light colored wall for a few seconds.

Blink your eyes a few times and see who or what you see…

We need to see Jesus more in our lives and to do that we’re going to have to look more intently for Him.

“I like to think…”

If only the comment had stopped there.  We all like to think.  But it’s what we think that makes all the difference in the world.

“I like to think that everyone who occupies a pew is a believer…”

“I like to think that everyone who calls him or herself a Christian really is…”

“I like to think that every American citizen holds ‘these things to be self evident…'”

But the “I like to believe” world is a Pollyanna world.  While I might like to think those things, they are likely not true.  They are a self-deception.  The truth is that those of us who live in the “I like to believe” world oftentimes like to believe those things because if they are true then we won’t have to do anything.  We won’t have to work to change the world. We won’t have to confront someone else about the lies they are living.  We won’t have to do the hard and prayerful work of properly discerning what is of God and what is not of God.  The Scriptures call it “rightly dividing the word of God” (2 Timothy 2:15 -“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”)

This is especially true in the church where we too often hear the words:

     “I like to hope that when all is said and done the good in my life will outweigh the bad” (and the back story is “I really don’t want to be challenged on all the bad I have done, or that I am never going to be good enough to earn salvation”).

     “I like to believe that we are all going to the same place, we’re just taking different roads” (and the back story is “I really don’t know what I believe and I am too embarrassed for others to know that so I’ll just keep quiet and not judge anyone else hoping that my own ignorance or lack of faith will never show”).

     “I like to think that I’m okay and you’re okay” (and the back story is that “I’m not sure I am okay and I’m pretty sure that one over there is definitely not okay so let’s just change what it means to be okay and we can say everything is okay, okay?).

Unfortunately this Pollyanna attitude also stands in stark contrast to another lie prevalent in today’s culture – what I affectionately call “the Hate-Radio” culture, where judgment reigns supreme – you know unfair and biased reporting.  Where “I like to think” is replaced by “they seem to think” and the Us or Them war begins.  This “they like to think” side is often advanced by the partisan politicos and the “Tea” or “Coffee” partiers’ perceptions of having all the answers – most of which ignore the very One who is the (only) Answer.   And sometimes the two attitudes meld into an “I like to think that they can’t think.”

As I wander through this vestige of western society I once knew as home, I am increasingly realizing just how lost we are – in the rhetoric of ideas, the me-centric identification of purpose, and the ignorance and folly of intellectualism.  We even go so far as to lable ourselves a “post-Christian” culture as if the one true faith no longer has influence or relevance.  There are times when one might even become discouraged, EXCEPT, that scripture tells us of the One who is The Way, The Truth, The Life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him… that He who began a good work in those of us who do truly believe will bring it to completion… that there is a judgment, which will be seasoned by grace for the believer to be sure, but still a judgment when the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats are to be sorted.  Post Christendom is in fact the time of the judgment.  And “I like to believe” I am ready… but doesn’t everyone?

Joshua’s words echo across the ages – choose for yourselves this day, whom you shall serve…but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.  And so I wonder, what is holding us back from full, unqualified, sacrificial faith.

Tomorrow’s sermon has changed, from “the good Samaritan” to “what do I need to do to be saved.”  What might be holding you back fro either salvation (if that is the case) or at least from sacrificial service (if that is the case).  What are the traditions, assumptions, “holy grails” that keep you from letting go and from committing to and fully serving God?  Will you answer Jesus, “I like to think?”  Or can you answer him “I BELIEVE!”?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2014 9:07 am

    wonderful issues altogether, you just gained a new reader.
    What could you suggest in regards to your submit that you made a few days ago?
    Any positive?

    • May 21, 2014 6:30 pm

      Luke, I think a good old fashioned sense of faith (trusting) in something eternal and unchanging, rather than hope or belief in a fleeting romantic notion goes along way for individuals. “I like to believe” says more about what we like that what we hold to be unchangeable. “I hope that” again says a lot about our hopes and dreams rather than about the One who should be the author of our hopes and dreams. The challenge of living in what some like to call a post-modern world makes faith more difficult, but then nothing easy has a whole lot of value. Most often it is in the stretching, the challenges, the “kinetic” exercise of faith that we actually experience the most growth.

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