*I’m postponing this weeks WORDPLAY, but will resume next week (if I’m out of my blue-funk by then). If you have a challenge, post it, let me know and I’ll try to participate! Or if you want to throw a challenge out next week, let me know!*
I just finished reading Karen Kingsbury’s “Forgiven” last night…yes I cried…big tears. I even found myself reading the excerpt (I never read these) from the next book in this series…what a tease! I decided to start reading another one of my ‘new’ books today because pain without growth, seems so futile. If I’m going to walk through a valley, at least let me read a book down here in the hopes of finding the location of the ladder God is building.
I plucked “Buck Naked Faith” by Eric Sandras, off the shelf and have completed the first chapter. WOW! It’s really good. It’s definitely worth a library visit, even if you don’t want to pay the $2-$10 for a used or slightly yellowed edition via Amazon.com.
I don’t want to ‘spoil’ the read for you but I do want to dive into what is reaching me in this journey. By the first 10 pages he states something that struck accord in my own struggle: “Little did I realize that my crisis was actually bringing me to the brink of what my spirit truly longed for--a cooperative friendship with Jesus.”
I got to thinking about how I know that I’m a friend of Jesus and have been for some time. What I didn’t know, and began to question, is am I the type of friend that comes to the birthday party only? Or am I a REAL friend that gets to stay for the slumber party? Are we the type of ‘best friends’ that finish one another’s sentences? Do we have nicknames for each other? Do we have that nonverbal language that only really good friends have? Do we laugh at the same jokes?
Does Jesus know what makes Kim tick and better yet; does Kim know what makes Jesus tick? What’s Jesus’ favorite movie? Or favorite color? Or favorite class in school? I began to think of the questions I ask my new friends as we’re getting acquainted.
I have always known that Jesus wanted relationship not just obedience to law. Jesus was very clear during His time on earth that He wants to walk with us and teach us as a friend, not as our perception of a King. Sandras calls it Cheese Puff Christianity. He states: “Cheese puffs take up space in the bowl, but crush them and you’re lucky to get a tablespoon of substance out of them.” Life without passion and purpose, this is cheese puff Christianity.
What I feel lacking and the point I’ve now reached is best expressed through my spirit crying out: “There must be more!” I am ready to truly be broken. I’m there! I want to know what it means to be Jesus’ best friend! It’s one thing for me to be able to say Jesus IS my friend. It’s something much deeper to state Jesus is my BEST friend.
That whole thought pattern conjures up so many images for me. You see I consider myself a pretty good friend. I am a friend who may not call everyday…but I will send a note, and offer prayers daily. I will spend time getting to know someone intimately. I will ask question after question, sometimes to the point of annoyance, to understand someone better. I will question why a person thinks or says something. I will explain, when questioned, my own story. That’s it in a nutshell; true friendship is when the stories collide and become one from that point on. We have merged and now our journeys are conjoined. We even schedule time together so that we can just hang out!
Sandras also teaches a bit about the word ‘knew’ used in Matthew 7:23 when Jesus teaches that not all will enter the kingdom of heaven. “The word knew can be paralleled with Genesis 2:24-25, where Adam and Eve are to be one flesh and are unashamed of their nakedness. In essence, we shouldn’t hide anything -- God wants us buck naked.” At first thought, that’s a bit frightening. Until I realize Jesus sees me as an intimate partner/friend, not just a date…and that’s a good thing because if we were just dating he wouldn’t even know my ‘ugly’ side, much less see me naked.
How many times have I stopped dead in my tracks and thought: “I wonder if Jesus can see me now?” Clearly the answer is ‘YES!’ All the more important that my FRIENDSHIP with Jesus grow because the more time we spend together in communion, the more like Him I will become and the godly behaviors will flow naturally from me as fruit.
I have found myself in a cycle (described by Sandras) of “binging and purging” my Christianity. “I try really, really hard to be good and pure and holy”…only to fall into temptation, time and time again. He also asks what things we tend to binge and purge on. Depression, lust, ESPN (or perhaps LIFETIME), reading novels, food, Xbox, chat rooms, and I can also think of super-wife/motherhood, Netflix, shopping; pretty much all the diversions we have in our lives.
The chapter uses other wonderful analogies but again I trust that you’re dying to read it and I don’t want to spoil the whole thing…I will use his growth points at the end of the chapter as a launching pad for this desire.
1. Friendship with God. What a concept. List 3 specific things in your life that would change if you were/are cultivating your FRIENDSHIP with God.
For me this is easy:
1. I would write to God more.
2. I would ask more questions and listen to His answers.
3. I would ‘hang’ with Him more.
2. Sit down with a cup of coffee/favorite beverage and give yourself permission to be honest. Write down four things that you tend to binge and purge on. Are they “God” things, or “sin” things? How are they related? When do they occur?
Have a Peace-Filled Wednesday and remember...DON'T be a cheese-puff!