Archive for September, 2015

September 21, 2015

Are we arrogant and judgmental? Do we subtly (or overtly) teach our children to suspect anyone ‘other’? Do we put mainly defensive spiritual tools in our kids’ hands, fostering an ‘against them’ rather than ‘for them’ posture? Do we emphasize behavior over character? Because good behavior won’t guarantee anything. If they don’t love Jesus and people, it matters zero if they remain virgins and don’t say the F-word. We must shepherd their hearts, not just their hemlines.

Jesus operates beyond the tidy boundaries of good behavior. Rather than simply enforce His rules, we should show our kids His kingdom. That’s where they’ll discover a Savior to fall in love with. Out where life is messy and relationships are complicated. Where the poor struggle and grace is a lifeline. If we want to raise disciples, we’d better take them to where Jesus is working, because they’ll discover His appeal more quickly in the field than in sanitized church classrooms or on behavior charts.

– Jen Hatmaker, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, 89-90.

A good word, not just for parents and other adults who care for young people, but also for all who want to be disciples ourselves.

Notice the “this and more” language – it’s not that morality doesn’t matter; it’s that it’s insufficient. “Being good” sucks as a motive, and is tantamount to viewing our behavior as a source of justifying righteousness. Y’all. If we rely on our righteousness for our identity or salvation, we are sunk, even if we’re “nice people.” Being good is also insufficient as a way of life. It’s not that we shouldn’t be good, but love is so much bigger than “behaving,” and it is a life of love we are called to as believers, not a life of moralism. I’m thinking of 1 Corinthians 13 and how useless all sorts of good things (even really flashy spiritual gifts) are if their possessor lacks love. These things are deeply connected. In John’s first letter, he writes a great deal about love,* paying special attention to the love of one’s neighbor. Then, at the end of his letter, he writes, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” So in case we were thinking, “Cool – love God and love people, and all that law stuff takes a back seat,” we are headed off at the pass. Love and obedience. Love by obedience.

Let’s stir up love in our hearts and pursue righteousness by chasing Jesus Christ, the Righteous, Whose Name is Love.

* He also writes a lot about sin and lawlessness. That 1 John 5 passage is hardly the first time the righteous living issue comes up in the letter.

September 14, 2015

Thoughts on Life’s Little Ironies

Well, friends, I finally updated my “About” page. In the process, I finally admitted to the world something I’ve been wrestling with for some time now. With a blog like this, I’m finding it hard to fess up, but I owe it to you, gentle readers. So here it goes.

I don’t really wear heels anymore.

{massive exhalation}

It all started when I was really sick (June 2012-August 2013). I mean, I really did balance better in heels back in the old days, but I barely walked for a long time. Flats were my jam, man. I think originally I balanced better in heels because my brain had to concentrate a little harder on what was happening at the end of my legs. True fact: the time I gave up heels for Lent I wiped out like 5 times. It was sad. But when I was sick, even when I could walk a reasonable distance I had to move slow and was in a lot of pain – I couldn’t afford to concentrate on anything extra. I guess you could say my brain was reprogrammed when it came to walking.

THEN, y’all, I met this really amazing, attractive, godly man who pursued me and we fell in love and the fact that I am three inches taller than he is didn’t bother us at all. And the incentive to wear heels diminished even more – it was indubitably in my best interest to remain within kissing distance. It’s not like I was making any kind of sacrifice; it just kind of happened. I didn’t squash down a facet of myself. I didn’t change myself to please him.* [My husband likes for me to wear heels – he likes for me to wear whatever I want.] I’m just not in the heel-wearing season of my life anymore.

When I was trying to come up with names for my blog originally (back in 2010), I was just smitten with this name a friend of mine came up with. I had a WordPress theme made on Fivrr specially for it. (It was super-scandalous originally, y’all – I had to ask the graphic designer to scale back the sexy-factor about 60%.) So naturally half of it would become kind of irrelevant. Naturally.

I am about to get rid of most of my high heels (which was the majority of my shoes for a long time) because I just never wear them. So if you wear a women’s 11 or 12, hit me up and I’ll let you know what I’ve got to give away.

*There’s nothing wrong with changing some things about yourself for your spouse or a friend. For example, thanks to my friend and former roommate Nancy, I now make the effort to consciously put the toilet paper on the holder the *right* way.

September 5, 2015

Double Imputation FTW

I do love me some soteriology. This isn’t surprising, especially for a Calvinist, but I just can’t shut up about it. The way God saves sinners like me is important, obviously, but also fascinating. And my favorite bit is something theologians like to call “double imputation.”

One of the classic formulations of the Gospel makes use of the very biblical analogy of sin as debt. Basically, it goes like this: the plight of the sinner is basically a massive accrued debt due to, well, sinning. The standard is perfect personal obedience, and we don’t have that to offer. It’s a debt we owe and have no chance of paying. The penalty of failing to meet this standard is death.

And then the Lord Jesus enters the equation, dying an atoning death and changing everything. Because He was perfect, His death was not payment He owed. He endured the punishment on our behalf, exhausting the justice of God, so that we are who are united with Christ no longer carry this debt.

But wait. The standard is perfect, personal obedience, and while this debt-business explains an essential aspect of our salvation, it doesn’t explain how we GAIN the credit we need to be right with God. It’s as if we went from being in the red to having an account balance of zero. But we don’t just need to be out of debt – we need to have the credit of perfection in our lives.

Jesus’s perfect life accomplished this for us. Not only did it mean that we could have our debt canceled, our punishment justly meted out; it meant that we could be right with God.

This is double imputation. It means that Christ was credited with our wickedness and we were credited with His righteousness. It’s beautiful.