|Crazy Love by Francis Chan|
I had no problems with the first couple of chapters.
However, starting with chapter 4 'Profile of the Lukewarm' and moving onto chapters 5 & 6 'Serving Leftovers to a Holy God', and 'Your Best Life.... Later', I started to get unsettled. Francis was saying great things - stuff I actually think about quite often - and I began to wonder about him, and about myself, and doubt my salvation... Well, not quite, but almost. It shook me up enough that I did a quick study on the whole 'Once saved, always saved' issue. I had no idea that was such a contentious issue for some people. See a great discussion on it I found here
Fortunately, I pushed through and finished the book because Francis provided the balance that I needed to hear in his last couple chapters. I get easily motivated to do things like 'sell the house, quit my job, and move to India and build an orphanage' after reading chapters 4, 5, and 6. Chapter 10 brought me back to 'centre', and I loved this paragraph:
"Most of us use 'I'm waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life' as a means of avoiding action. Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the tv yesterday?... the point isn't that watching tv is wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment priorities but slow to commit to serving God."Considering all of this, how do I work out my salvation and my calling to serve God with 'fear and trembling', and yet cultivate a relationship with Him that motivates me to serve Him?
- Trust God to show me the right way.. and validate it by keeping an eye on the fruit in my life... Are my choices bearing good fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.)?
- Remember the things He's doing in and through my life here and now and stop comparing myself with others!
- Balancing my 'calling' with my 'responsibilities'. I felt for years that I was not using my music ability to its full potential. Family responsibilities got in the way. When I brought the problem and my frustration to God, after a while He directed me to use my music in ways I hadn't thought of before (outside of a church in a hospital & and school) that were super meaningful to myself as well as to people on the receiving end, and I didn't have to shirk family responsibilities.
- Remember that God has perfect balance - while He's motivating us with the messages to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, He's ALSO drawing us to Himself with encouragement like Ephesians 1:4: "Long before He laid down the earth's foundations, God had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His Love."
- Remember the balance between Doing & Being (I wrote about that recently here)
- Remember that Jesus came to the earth "...full of grace and truth." John 1:14. Pastor Rick said this to me some time ago and I've never forgotten it. Balance in grace and truth. Not just balance, but FULL of both at the same time! How does that look? What was Jesus like for John to have written that?
The fact that Jesus and others in the Bible (John in Revelation) used fear as a tactic in their messages to motivating people to change has bothered me for some time. But when I consider that through the context of John 1:14, it changes. Jesus was full of grace as well. God speaks and He allows us to hear what we need to hear, if our hearts are humble and open.