Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Tan Lines are Gone

As I stare down at my feet, I see that the tan lines are almost gone. I wore my Keen Sandals for roughly 3 weeks in Israel. This created some interesting designs in my feet that I wore as a badge of honor. Well my feet are homogeneous now, and as the tan lines have faded, so has the nearness of my trip. I will forever be impacted by what I experienced, but memories are no longer fresh.

This might be disappointing to some of you, but I am not more spiritual for having gone on this trip. This does not mean that I did not have spiritually impactful moments. In fact, I had many. Praying at the Western Wall of the Temple complex was a one of the top ones. The Jews believe this area is where the Spirit of the Lord dwells. I cannot comment on the veracity of that claim, but I do know that Spirit of the Lord dwells inside of me. I am now the Temple. Inside of me is the Holy of Holies. It is also inside of you. It was a great offense to desecrate the Temple. In fact, Antiochus IV sparked the Maccabean Revolt by desecrating the Temple in 167BC. He sacrificed a pig to Zeus in the Temple. What you see below is called the Western or Wailing Wall. It is what is left of the outer wall of the Herodian Temple complex from the time of Jesus

Do I have a high enough view of my temple? There are things from the outside that assault my temple to the Lord. Most of these happen because of my own decisions. Sometimes they happen because we live in a fallen world. Other times unfortunately I desecrate my own temple. I become too passive about my own sin. I put up with it way too much.

I need a higher view of the Spirit which dwells inside of me. I need a larger appreciation of the Lord's decision to make His dwelling place inside my heart. This is not so I can laud my own spirituality in front of others. This is not so I can prove myself worthy of the Lord (I could never). This is so I can show respect and appreciation to the one being that is worthy of all my praise and adoration. His deep love for me must move me to change. If it does not, then I have not really accepted his love.

This wonderful trip I was able to go on will have a lasting impact. However, I, we must be about doing the things that bring lasting and permanent renewal in our lives. We must have a high view of the Spirit which lives inside of us. Otherwise, we are simply practicing religion just like every other major faith in the world. We need to move beyond the ritual movements of Christianity. Just like a trip to Israel did not make me more Spiritual, neither does the act of going to church, the act of fasting, the act of giving, the act of praying, the act of reading the Bible. Bear in mind, none of these are bad. In fact, I could easily argue that they are all good. However, doing these things does not bring Spiritual growth. They can put is the right posture for Spiritual growth, but there are plenty of people who have done these things for years, but do not know the Lord any better. They have listened to hundreds of sermons and can probably quote a lot of Scripture, but the do not know the Lord any better. Even those like me who have gone to Seminary. This does not make me know the Lord better, only to know more about the Lord.

The answer is found in active faith. We all need to more intentionally rely on Him. We need to allow Him to move us into situations where we HAVE to rely on Him. This is what He desires. To get to know Him well, sometimes we need to strip away all the other things: the material excesses, the religiosity, the drive for success, and many other things. Do we have what it takes to really belong to the Lord? Do we really want it? Do we really think He is worth it?