The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the story being celebrated around the world today. It's the tie that binds Christians across denomination and divisions. I couldn't write my R words on Easter Monday. They had to be written and shared (oops) on Resurrection Sunday. So here they are, two for the price of one: rest and real. Both of them can only make sense in the light of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let's start with real first. Can I get real with you?
Real: not fake, false, artificial, fraudulent, or illusory; genuine.
One of the amazing things...
And that's all that posted. Everything I wrote after that is gone. Lost in cyberspace.
Then I had another post for R, one that I wrote a few days ago, when I was really frustrated with some things I was seeing. It's not a real nice post. It would offend probably a lot of people. And as I struggle right now with what I should post - something entirely new or bring out the sassy one, or as a third option use a combo of both - my heart is beating faster, I have some anxiety running through my nervous system and I think to myself, I am being just the exact thing being real is not.
One of the many amazing things about the human body is that it doesn't lie. No matter how much we can tell ourselves we're fine, we don't hurt physically or emotionally, we don't suffer from the past, we are doing ok, the body tells the real story.
Our hips and stomachs tell the story when we eat emotionally and not for fuel.
Our hearts tell the story when the doctor tells us our blood pressure is too high, so is our cholesterol and we need to quit working round the clock.
Our liver tells the story when we drink too much.
Our stomachs tell the story when we have digestive issues and either poop all the time or can't poop at all or we can't eat this because of that ingredient.
We can give ourselves a false sense of comfort about the sicknesses and illnesses we have - it's genes, it's what my mother had and her mother before her, it's because I live in this part of the country, it's because I was abused when I was young, it's because I was vaccinated, no it's because I wasn't vaccinated - but the bottom line is, our bodies won't lie for us. Sin is in us and has tainted us. Sometimes we are sick because it's simply sin living in us. Sometimes we are sick because of choices we make and the sin genes living in our bodies latch on and manifest as bulimia or allergies or headaches or high blood pressure or cancer.
The body is a tangible piece of evidence that tells the truth about us and our condition. Our minds won't let us be real. Our minds like to believe lies about our body too. So, let's start being real like our bodies are trying to teach us.
But somehow our nature just wants to hide and pretend and be fake.
But the Resurrection really doesn't allow for fake-ness. Sure we're good at calling our temptations and sins of lust and greed and pornography and addictions and gluttony and pride and arrogance as "sin," never using the real words that describe us.
If we call ourselves "sinners" instead of drunks and addicts and the gluttons and pharisees we are, it's a nicer word, it's the religiously correct word.
But the Resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us the freedom really to call our spades spades.
When we dress up and hide and rename the things we are - the ones that are struggling and dying and trying to be good, do good, not be bad - they see us and call us that great word. You know it. HYPOCRITE!
They know who we are, they see us trying to hide who we are and pretend we're better, or not as bad or simply fake - and the gospel, the good news, the Resurrection story is simply just a story. It's not real in our life. It's just something we do because the calendar says its time and then we put it away, tuck it back in the closet until next year when we bring out the Passion story of Christ.
Instead of living the passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ every single day.
It's wonderful to have the day where Christians can boldly post on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram - "He's Risen" - and we get the pass from our unbelieving friends to do so, but then Easter Monday comes and the masks come back on.
When we're real, when we're not fake, not artificial, not fraudulent, not illusory, we can find real rest.
Real Resurrection rest.
The rest that Jesus gives and bids us to come and receive from Him.
When we're fake, when God's own children feel the need to be fake and hide and pretend, so does the world.
It takes a lot of energy to be fake, doesn't it. Lots of money too. Dressing up the outside, losing sleep over the inside.
But when God's children are honest with themselves and with God about who they are, not just "sinners" but children who have done____________(you fill in the sins that dog you), then those who call us hypocrites may, just may, find it a little less hindering to consider who Jesus really is. And what He really did for them.
I don't know. Maybe it is "their" problem. But maybe it's "our" problem.
I'm ready to be real. Maybe I'm just getting old but I'm tired of phony baloney. I'm sassy(ier) the older I get. Or the thug in me is really starting to come out. I don't know.
I'm just tired of trying to give a defense to behaviors of the saved that the world sees. I'm tired of hearing the unbelieving world accuse the believing world of being hypocrites and having no true defense to give to stand up for the hypocrisy and fraud that surrounds the American church.
The thing is though, it's tiring to be us. It's tiring to be fake. It zaps of energy and joy and peace and freedom. It costs money to be fake. Blood pressure pills, insulin shots, knee surgery, heart surgery - they all cost money. It costs money when we're not honest about ourselves deep down under the surface of sinners saved by grace.
The unsaved are not worried about being fake. They're not worried about being a poser. They accept who they really are.
We blame their attitudes and behaviors on their sinfulness, their parents, the schools these days, the government, the justice system, the Supreme Court, false teaching, when all the while the Light in the established churches remains dim at best.
We blame our attitudes and behaviors on our sinful nature, our "little" sins, said with a wink and a chuckle - "ooo, I shouldn't have eaten that last piece of pie" when really we got snubbed by someone we really admire or we're trying to drown out the pain of memories that torture, so the pie tries to fill the hole in our hearts only God can fill.
We blame our heart condition on genetics and big fancy words for murmurs when in fact we drink and smoke because we don't know how else to silence the thoughts that taunt our minds when it's quiet.
We blame our stomach problems on food, on vaccines, on ingredients, when in fact we just simply use food to fill the voids only God can fill. We control our food because we can't control anything else around us.
It's us who have the problem. It's us who think we have to hide our struggles from them for fear that the gospel will be hindered. I've got news for you: The gospel is hindered when we hide our struggles.
No ones says you have to agree with their lifestyle or buy them their drugs or feed their addictions by looking the other way. I'm certainly not saying that.
What I am saying is this: Be real about who you are first. Not just the blanket word "sinner" either. Call yourself the spade you are. Put a name to the sins you are trying to hide from. You're only hurting yourself by pretending you're something you're really not. If you have to pretend and hide and deny you're an addict or gay or a wife beater, you're really hindering the gospel. If you're denying you have heart problems because you're simply eating too much, you're hindering the gospel.
Read that part again. You're hindering the gospel.
You are. I am. Not them. Not the lost. Not the unsaved. Not false teachers, not false churches. You are. I am. Every time we are fake and not real, the gospel is squashed.
Every time we deny and comfort our "little" sin, we hinder the gospel.
Every time we call ourselves a sinner and continue to live in sin without repentance, without turning away from it, we are hindering the gospel.
Does this mean we blab our sins to everyone all the time? Most certainly not! But if we can't even blab them to ourselves and most importantly God, then really, what's the point of even calling ourselves a follower of Christ? We're not following him. We're only a stumbling block for someone else wanting to reach out to him.
They - those watching us - they are looking for evidence that the gospel is real.
What personal evidence can you bring to the table to show and proclaim to a lost and dying world that Jesus is real?
I don't know what this will look like if we all started being real. Maybe new groups will form. Like PA - pharisee anonymous. Or GA - gluttons anonymous or gossips anonymous. (Smiles) It's probably going to get messy. It's probably going to turn the tables on normal and make some really uncomfortable. But so what?
Is normal really working? Really?
R is for Real Resurrection Rest.
Things to chew on:
1. Do you agree the church needs to be real? Do you think the church is ok where it's at?
2. What dangers do you see in being real?
3. What dangers do you see in keeping things the same?
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he builds survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.