Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be

I'm trying to figure out the difference between getting ready and being ready.  I have to admit I've never really thought about it like that before.

Is it possible to spend your whole life getting ready for Jesus to come and still not be ready when the time comes?  That's a really scary thought!  I've spent most of my life "getting ready" for Jesus to come again.  Have I been wasting my time?  Is it a process or a decision?

I think maybe it's both.  (I always like issues where I can sit squarely on the fence.)

We've all heard the phrase, "All dressed up and no place to go."  I think that might be how the foolish virgins felt in the parable.  All the virgins spent time GETTING ready, but when it came right down to it, only half of them actually WERE ready.  All the virgins LOOKED ready to anyone who happened to be watching.  So, what made the wise virgins take that extra step and bring extra oil?  In the long run, it wasn’t all the getting ready that made the difference; it was the decision to bring extra oil. And, to what can we compare that most important step in our own lives?

I think it all comes down to Psalm 46:10 (NIV) "Be still, and know that I am God; …”  I think at some point we have to stop running around doing things to get ready and just believe that we are God’s.

The Pharisees thought they had it all figured out, didn’t they?  They figured that if 10 rules were good, more would be great!  Well, that turned out to be way too much of a good thing.  They wrapped themselves up in all these guidelines so that they felt comfortable.  They felt that as long as they were following the rules, they were in good shape.  But the Pharisees forgot one thing...why they started keeping all these rules in the first place — to try to stay close to God. Oh, maybe the first generation, the folks who had originally come up with the rules knew and understood, but the generations after that just knew the rules.  They didn’t really meet God, not on any personal level anyway.  For the Pharisees, the trip (the rules) became more important than the destination (a relationship with God).  They were working so hard to be good enough to get to Heaven, that they forgot where they wanted to go.

I think the same thing happens with a lot of 2nd and 3rd  generation Adventists.  We know all the does and don’ts, we sing the right songs, quote the right texts.  We know what to eat and not eat and what to drink and not drink.  We’re comfortable in our rules, going through the motions.

Can we, as cultural Adventists, become saved Christians without traveling the Damascus Road?

Well this is truly a case of, “It’s not what you know but WHO you know that makes a difference.

Or hiding in your comfy shell of rules?

And then think about this. We hear someone’s testimony.  The person has come from the dark side of life into the Light of Jesus and salvation and we feel kind of cheated.  We’ve grown up with the trappings of righteousness, but we’ve never experienced that “Road to Damascus” conversion.  We start to wonder if we’ve missed out.   Are those people closer to God that we are?  Are they more saved?
Think about the parable of the Prodigal Son...think about the older brother.   Hmmm.    Then think about this, what if the person coming back was your brother (or sister).  Would your resent them or rejoice that they had come home?  

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