I forgot everything…

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,* I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.* 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Dang!!!  I wish I wouldn’t stop reading at the chapter breaks! This is a continuation of yesterday’s journal. Two statements of Paul’s stand out in these 5 verses. … I decided that … I would forget everything except Jesus Christ… and in verse 4 … I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.

What would my life look like if I forgot everything but Jesus Christ and relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit? (with my best Paulie impersonation…) “Oh my gosh!”

Here’s the key. It’s two words in verse 2. … I decided… That is the key. It’s making a premeditated choice to respond and do “X” before the heat of the battle or the throw of temptation.

If I forget everything but Jesus, then that means I forget all about me… all my pride, my selfishness, my wants, my desires, my laziness, my lack of discipline, my busy-ness, and so on and so on. It means I forget all about tomorrow’s schedule, the demands of my job, cheer practice, scouts, sports, tv, (whatever) and I remember Jesus. I spend time with him. I let the Holy Spirit lead me, even through the events of my day – the difference being the attitude of my heart. I do it out of worship and devotion to Him and not out of guilt or duty to something else, or out of my own selfish desires.

I am deciding to forget everything except Jesus Christ and to rely only on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, help me make the same decision tomorrow and the next day. Amen.

What choose you?

Romans 6:15-19 (NLT) 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. 19 Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

The predominant word that stands out to me in this passage is the word “slave.”  So often that word has such a negative connotation in our Western – particularly U.S. – culture.  I’m not sure I fully grasp the cultural significance of the word slave used in the times and culture of Christ.

Regardless, I looked up the word in its Greek origin.  The word is doulon means this: 1) a slave, bondman, man of servile condition. 1a) a slave. 1b) metaph., one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing His cause among men. 1c) devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.

What is particularly interesting is the root of this word. The word originates from the word deo which means to “bind” as in: 1) to bind tie, fasten. 1a) to bind, fasten with chains, to throw into chains. … 1b2) to bind, put under obligation, of the law, duty etc. 1b2a) to be bound to one, a wife, a husband.

So, choosing to participate in sin is choosing to become bound to sin, like a husband and wife are bound to each other.

That’s why there is no grey area of sin with God.  It is either sin or it is not, because I am either bound to sin (which verse 19 says leads to deeper and deeper sin – deeper and deeper bondage) or I am bound to righteous living by  (verse 17) “… wholeheartedly obey[ing] this teaching we have given you…” and (verse 19) “… you must give yourselves to be slaves of righteous living…“.

Our culture is saturated in moral relativism… “if it feels good, do it”… “I’m not bothering anyone else”… yada, yada, yada (to quote the great Jerry Seinfeld).  Our society is so jacked up because of it, that we – as a nation – pass laws limiting the rights of the many in order to “protect” the few from being offended or isolated.  Our courts let the wrong go free and legislate from the bench because their own moral compass doesn’t jive with the moral compass of those who passed whatever law is on the books.

How did I get down this train of thought?  I don’t know.  The question becomes then, how do I give myself to be a slave of righteous living?  It’s fairly easy sitting here in the midst of the Bible Belt in the land of Freedom (although our freedoms are diminishing with every year).  What does it look like when the Christian becomes the target?  What was it like when the Roman’s were feeding Christians to the lions?

If this is the easiest place in the world at the easiest time to be a radical Christian, why are there really so few?  That’s a convicting question.  What aren’t I more radical than I am?

I had a girlfriend in college that called me a “Bible thumper” when we broke up.  In response to that, a friend told me, “Hey, we all thump something.”  He was right.  So is God.  According to this passage, we are all slaves of something.  It’s our choice.  It’s my choice.  Sin or Righteousness.

I choose righeousness.