Thursday, February 23, 2012

Get Your $h!t Together! (rated PG-13)

Have you ever talked to someone about their faith and they said something like "Yeah, I know I need God but I have too many issues right now that I have to get right." or "Yeah, I have heard that before but I am too messed up for God, I need to get my act together before He is ready for me." Working with the homeless on Saturdays we hear a lot of this. I met a guy a few weeks ago named Ronnie (pictured). I began to share the Gospel with him and he was very open and raw with me. If you are easily offended you may not want to read any further. Ronnie is in his late 50's and as I began to share with him he looked at me and said "You have no idea how f**ked up my life is and how much $h!t I have done to myself and others!" He went on to say that he did not think God wanted anything to do with him. I continued talking with him and gave him a Bible but eventually he got up and walked away. I have not seen him since.

The days following our conversation I was reading through the book of Acts. As Paul stood before King Agrippa and shared his story, he got to the point of telling about his experience on the road to Damascus and something just jumped off the page. Take a look:
Acts 26: 12-14 - 12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
Look at what happened, look at what Paul says very closely. Verse 14 - We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ The portion that jumped out at me is where Christ says "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Notice that he did not say "Paul, Paul why did you persecute me?" Christ did not wait for Paul to get his, in the words of my friend Ronnie, "$h!t" together. He called Paul in the middle of his "$h!t".

There is another passage that came to mind as I read these verses and thought about Ronnie. This next passage is again the Apostle Paul but this time he is talking to Timothy.
I Timothy 1: 15 - Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
Look at that one again and you will notice that Paul says "of whom I am the worst." He says I am, not I was, did you catch that? Even as Paul approached the end of his life he still did not have it all together. I am wondering if this realization was in the back of Paul's mind as he wrote Romans 5: 8:
Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Again, it says while we were still sinners, not once we got our stuff together. We cannot save ourselves, we cannot do enough to get right with God.

I hope that if you are not a follower of Christ you will take this to heart. My prayer is that you will realize that the Gospel of the Bible is a Gospel of grace, a story of God reaching out to you right where you are, in the middle of your messed up life.

If you are a follower of Christ I hope you will remember this and thank God for finding you right where you were, in the middle of your messed up life. I hope you will show the same grace to others that God showed to you. There are a lot of people like my friend Ronnie who need to hear this message. We have a responsibility to take it to them and let them know that their life is not too messed up for God to clean up.

1 comment:

  1. I have told more than one person " You don't have to change your life to become a Christian....but if you will become a Christian it will change your life. God will take you as just as you are