Can These Bones Live?
JR. Forasteros - April 2, 2017
Can These Bones Live?
From Series: "Lent is for Losers"
Too often, we think faith is about winning - getting our way in the culture or in our homes. But during Lent, we'll trace the human journey through the Old Testament and see that getting what we want never works out like we hope. We'll see how Jesus enters into our failure and becomes a loser just like us. Somehow, his failure is good news for us. It turns out God is for losers, which is good news for all us failures.
More From "Lent is for Losers"
How often have you said the phrase “that’s just how I am”? It’s something we’ve all said at some point – usually when we’re confronted with a particularly ugly aspect of ourselves. I’ve heard it about a bad temper. I’ve heard it about some bad habits. I’ve said it about myself when it comes to my self-image (more about that later).
When we pop off at someone, or when we indulge that bad behavior and we know it’s wrong, but we apologize for it by saying, “That’s just how I am”, what we’re really saying is “Deep down, I don’t think I can change.”
This is a particularly religious issue: can we really change? Not just superficially, but at a deep, core level?
If I have a bad temper, is the best I can do to try really hard not to show that temper, or is it maybe possible to be transformed, to receive an entirely new temperament?
If I desire things I shouldn’t, is the best I can do to try really hard not to indulge that desire, or is it possible to transform those desires? If, like me, you struggle to feel worthy of love, is the best for us to pretend, to keep those feelings of self-doubt buried? Or is it possible that we might learn to see ourselves differently?
For me, the deep, bedrock identity stuff that feels impossible to change, the “just the way I am” stuff is insecurity. I don’t know when it started, but for long time growing up, I felt genuinely unlovable. I was confident that, at the end of the day, I wasn’t worthy of love. I was just a loser. That’s just who I was.
My conviction colored every relationship I had – looking back I had a number of great friends in school, but I couldn’t embrace them as friends because I didn’t see myself as worthy of friendship. It colored my religion – I was legalistic because I couldn’t imagine that God would actually just love me – how could he? Obviously God would only like me if I did things to make God happy.
Psychologists and counselors call these bedrock things “core beliefs” because they’re deep down in the very core of who we are. They’re like our personality DNA. They’re so deep within us they’re difficult to recognize, let alone change. That’s why we prefer simply to say, “That just how I am.”
But friends, this is the season of Lent. It is the time of the year we face our Sin head on, drag it into the light of God’s truth that it can shrivel and die.
Let’s talk about conversion and resurrection. “That’s just the way I am” isn’t good enough for us. What are those deep places in your life that you have felt are “just the way you are”? What are the spaces that you think are beyond help, beyond hope?