Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Run That Glorified God

I've had this unusual struggle recently with leaving Sunday worship in a bad mood.  Some might counsel me, "Well, maybe you should go to a different church".  But, I don't think that's the answer.  I'm pretty sure the Bible never measures a healthy church by the mood of those attending it.  And I do believe this is a good church for us.  The gospel is proclaimed, the teaching is sound, we have found a place to serve, and the fellowship within our Community Group has been huge in making Louisville feel like home.

I made a comment to Derek as we walked out, "The mingling after church makes me feel like I'm in junior high again."  "What do you mean?" he said back.  "It's all just awkward small talk.  It's all very shallow," I replied.  He was quiet for awhile... I hate it when he gets quiet. Finally, he said, "I don't like that phrase "small talk", and it's only shallow if you make it that way.  It's only shallow if you are not interested in what the other person is saying."  Ouch!

So, then I was really in a bad mood.  I'm the one who's shallow.  We get home, and I decide to go for a run to process all this.  At some point, I realize that what actually makes it junior high is standing there waiting to see who will come talk to me.  (I'm yelling at myself to grow up.)  Next time, I need to go initiate a conversation! But, back to the run... I know the problem is me and my sinful heart, but how do I work through that?  It strikes me that my sin is pride manifesting itself as self pity.   Poor me, no one will come and talk to me.

Throw on top of all that a greater need to love others.  I have it in me to do that.  I have Christ in me who is God.  And God is love.  So, how do I flee this darkness?

All this is going through my head as I'm running.  Then, the coolest thing!  The lyrics to the Charlie Hall song "Marvelous Light" start playing through my head.  "Into marvelous light I'm running, out of darkness, out of shame. By the cross You are the truth, You are the life, You are the Way."  And I'm running, and the sun is beaming down on me, and I know this is from God.

 I don't have to act like the person I was in junior high, because I'm not that person anymore.  In Christ I am a new creation.  The old has passed away; the new has come.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." -2 Corinthians 5:17

It's good to get a glimpse into the depths of our depravity.  My struggles include pride, self pity, fearing man more than I fear God, seeking the approval of man over the approval of God... the list goes on and on. But, in Christ I'm facing down the darkness.  I'm not who I was.  My life is hidden with Christ.  I pray and plead with God that this would be evident! I am a wretched creature apart from the grace of Jesus Christ.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." -Colossians 3:1-3

Derek challenged me to initiate a conversation with someone after church next Sunday.  And not to let it be shallow or junior high.  In fact, there was a woman sitting in front of us today holding a baby about Benjamin's age who smiled at me twice.  I'm pretty sure I could have had a "real" conversation with her. I repent of my pride.  Lord, forgive me.  By Your grace, I will love others better. 

So, this is how my inner self is renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16, Eph 4:23); this is how I set my mind on things above and not on earthly things (Col 3:2); this is how even a run can bring glory to God (1 Cor 10:31).

Verse 1
I once was fatherless,
a stranger with no hope;
Your kindness wakened me,
Awakened me, from my sleep

Verse 2
Your love it beckons deeply,
a call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life, take your life.

Sin has lost it's power,
death has lost it's sting.
From the grave you've risen

Into marvelous light I'm running,
Out of darkness, out of shame.
By the cross you are the truth,
You are the life, you are the way

Verse 3
My dead heart now is beating,
My deepest stains now clean.
Your breath fills up my lungs.
Now I'm free. now I'm free!

Lift my hands and spin around,
See the light that i have found.
Oh the marvelous light
Marvelous light

Lift my hands and spin
See the light within...

1 comment:

The Fam said...

I love this post. Probably because it resonates. Why didn't we hang out more when you lived here??? Thanks for being vulnerable.