Pastor Ryan - August 28, 2023
Confession time: I have bribed my kids. There I said It. Maybe you have too? I have bribed my kids because, well, sometimes I need them to not be kids. I need them to be little adults, which means, really, to be quiet. It’s almost always to be quiet and keep calm. I know they can’t do it forever, and I know they don’t want to do it naturally because they’re kids. But I know they can do it for a time, and when I just must have that moment, I bribe them. I bribe them so they will “behave.”
It’s funny when we say “behave” because what we tend to mean when we say to our children “behave” is not behave like a child, even though we are talking to children. No, what we mean is “behave” like an adult, even though you are a child. Keep quiet, keep calm, and do not pretend to be a dinosaur. Please? Pretty please!? If you do this, we can get ice cream after. And, just like that, BOOM, perfect little angels. But, of course, only for a time.
God does not want us to “behave.” That’s outside of our nature. God does not want us to be something we are not, because in the pretending we will still be who we are. We will still be who God made us to be. What God wants isn’t good for a time, pretend to be a good little Christian when the Pastor comes by and on Sunday. That’s a lie. The heart of God is for His children to look like Him, not just for His children to conform to a set of rules.
To make our lives look like Christ’s takes work. Takes commitment. Takes a desire to be transformed. We are transformed by God, by the Holy Spirit as we engage. It is in the doing that we are transformed to live like Christ. We begin to desire God and, in the desire, to be near God we are transformed to be like God. We don’t have to pretend or follow rules because it is who we are.
Bribes of eternal life will only last if we are focused on that far off promise. -squirrel
Threats of hell are only effective if we agree to consider that outcome.
In the hugs and handshakes of our small group, or Sunday morning we are reminded of the love of Christ. In worship, and in service to others, in the myriad of conversations with those who have gone before us, we are moved by the Holy Spirit. In the sermon and the devotions and the bible studies we are transformed into a new being. At the table and at the font we are made a new creation. We don’t have to pretend because in living with the Holy Spirit we are transformed.
Go! Love on those around you and service the LORD, and in doing so you will be the you God made you to be.