Monday, April 7, 2014

Don't Want to Be Like the People in the Bible

Have you ever read the bible and felt completely inadequate? Sometimes I read my bible and wonder how I could ever compare to the giants of faith found in Scripture whose examples I am to follow. After all, I'm no one special—No one is going to read about my exploits thousands of years from now and think to themselves, "How can I possibly be like her?"  Sometimes I have a tendency to revere these saints of the Word to the point of putting them on pedestals that are dangerously close to being even with the throne of God and then I berate myself because my faith isn't as grandiose as I imagine theirs was. But then I look for the humanity in them and I can see more of myself in them than I like to admit. As I look at these giants through the focus of their humanity, I see that they were everyday normal human beings who lived life one day at a time, often times screwing it up royally, just likes me.

For instance, God chooses Noah and his family to carry on the human race after the flood because he was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Genesis 6:9 And what did this righteous man do right after God saved and blessed him and his family? He went right out, planted a vineyard, got slobbering drunk, and passed out naked. This doesn't sound very “righteous” to me. 

How about the highly revered Abraham? Abraham chose in obedience to believe God's promise and God credited Abraham's belief to him as righteousness. But then Abraham got worried that maybe God wouldn't protect him on his travels through foreign lands. He feared the foreigners would kill him to get to his wife so he lied and told his wife to lie about them being married. And after years of waiting for God to come through on his promise of a child, Abraham and Sarah got a little impatient and came up with their own plan—Abraham slept with a servant to get her pregnant so he and Sarah could have a child. Even as he followed God to the promised land, this pillar of faith lied more than once putting his wife in some very sticky and dangerous situations, he forced himself on a servant with the intention of impregnating her, and then abandoned her and her child when God's promised child, Isaac, was born. Again, not really the kind of person I want to be.

The point is that it is so easy to idealize these biblical saints, thinking they were super human or even "sinless" in their faith journey, and we would be so wrong. Sin is in our spiritual DNA and only in continuous reliance on Jesus and his act of love, grace and atonement on the cross do we even have the ability to approach God's throne in repentance with hope. Being a disciple, a follower of Christ, a Christian (however you want to name it) isn't about being sinless and perfect. (Only Jesus is sinless and perfect.) It's about realizing how sinful and broken we are and falling on God's mercy and Christ's sacrifice again and again to be forgiven and healed and in our showing others, in love, what it looks like to continuously seek and be forgiven so that they will then become an example of God's grace and forgiveness to others.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)


Common Household Mom said...

Yeah, f'r instance, David comes across as a really cool guy, until you read the story of Bathsheba, Uriah, etc. Don't want to be like that!

Audrey said...

Good message Maureen. When I elevate others, I find that it makes it too easy for me to say that I could never be like them. I'm not good enough...obedient enough...reverant enough and thoughts like these run through my mind. When I realize that they are only human, then it frees me up to at least try. I know that I can always go to Him when I need forgiveness, and that fills me with hope!