Monday, February 28, 2011

Dogma & Pony Show

God The Destiny Giver
Have you ever prayed for God to show you what His will is for your life? I have. Prayer meetings, day dreams, conferences, sermons and other spiritual “highs” all consumed by this burning question of “What is God’s great destiny for my life?” It’s like at some point in the late 80’s the American dream became homogenized with the Gospel and there’s a whole generation of Christians running around in desperate search for their “calling”.

It seems that while the ideal of “you can be whatever you want to be.” has remained, it’s application has changed. The dream used to be having land and a farm and raising a bunch of kids. If you were a homesteader you had arrived. For many it was trade labor. The dream was to be able to hang a shingle with your name on it. For others after the industrial revolution, the dream was to climb the ladder. Work hard for 25 years and retire on a nice pension. The cultural awakening of the late 60’s and early 70’s lead to a split in philosophy while many were still trying to climb corporate ladders, others were “sticking it to the man”. So by the time my generation came along, “You can be anything you want to be” Had drastically changed.

We all wanted to be rock stars, celebrities, rich or famous. Some of us wanted all of the above. I live in a town full of stardom seeking gen-x and now y-ers. All hoping to "make it". Most not even sure what "making it" means. Of course experts are now predicting this to shift again soon. Instead of rock stars they will want to be Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. But the point is most of us were told we could be “great”. Our parents “believed” in us. No one mentioned that for every “winner” there are thousands if not tens of thousands of people who spend their life in discontent because their not “living the dream”. Just look at the American Idol auditions. Stadiums full of people wanting to be on top of the world. Hoping someone will know their name. One of the Idol winners from early on is close with a couple friends of mine. They all played in a club, in town, not to long ago, for about 40 people. No media coverage, just friends happy to be playing music together. The idol winner was singing backup and introduced simply by their first name. Many in the crowd didn’t even recognize them. No one tells you that even if you “make” it, it probably won’t last very long. And chances are you might end up back where you started.

Paul said, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
There’s this sense that contentment, as Paul describes it, has been sucked into oblivion by a black hole of ideals, and pop psychology self help dogma.

So then, is it any wonder, how so many of us in believerhood can be so lost as to what our “purpose” is? The problem is that we’re convinced there is a “great calling” in the first place. You know what scripture says about the “will of God”? Let me sum it up for you in three phrases.
1. Do Right
2. Do Right Continually
3. Continually Do Right as a member of the family of God

If you break down 1 Thess. 5 there’s a pretty good description of God’s will.

Appreciate those you work for, with, learn from, and have deep loving relationships with.
Live at peace with one another
admonish the unruly
encourage the fainthearted
help the weak
be patient with everyone
let no one repay evil for evil
always seek what’s best for each-other and for humanity
Rejoice always
Never stop communicating with the father
be thankful for everything

By the way does any of this sound familiar? It’s a lot like the “Love Chapter” isn’t it? One of my pastor friends often says, “if you want to know what God’s will is for your life, find something He’s already doing.”. Another pastor I know says, “Stop asking what God’s will is for your life and just ask for His will”. Allow me to add one thought of conjecture here. My goal is not to discourage you from having dreams and visions for the future. Or to have you loose all resolve for accomplishment in your life. I truly believe each one of us is designed with a unique deposit of God’s Image inside of us. That deposit holds gifts, talents, abilities, character traits and so much more. All of which must be explored and cultivated. As for greatness and fame, many will make an impact, few will leave a lasting impression. But it Christ we can show love to all that we might win some. I believe it's great to strive for excellence but maybe greatness belongs to God. And what of the stadiums full of people starving to be known. I'd say there is a God that is longing to know them. I've heard evangelists say there's a God shaped hole in the heart of every man. But have you ever considered the YOU shaped hole in the heart of God.

No comments: