Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Taking Off Our Spiritual Sweatshirts

Guest columnist today - man, that sounds offical! :-) I get emails from New Release Tuesday telling what new releases are out each week. This week, they included something a guy connected with NRT wrote, a Josh Peterson. I read it, and thought it was really good, so I am pasting it here. Check it out - it is called "Taking off our spiritual sweatshirts" (the title made me check it out)

I don’t remember the last time I could say
I was where I wanted to be
Still You see through this mask
Hiding all my flaws
You see something down deep in me...

Bring me back so that I can feel You again
Take me to that place I was before
All I want is to hold my head up high
So take this life and set aflame again
--Decyfer Down "Life Again"

Life is sometimes like a hooded sweatshirt.

A good one!

You know, the kind of sweatshirt that has a hood that is so deep it covers three fourths of your face if you want it to. It hides the poser behind the fabric.

It is imaging. And life is all about how we position ourselves isn’t it? I mean come on...it really is, isn’t it?

We put our hip sunglasses on from Urban Outfitters so we can give people a false impression of who we really are. Big, ugly, dorks?

We don’t want people to see who we really are inside...the messed up parts of our lives, the sin, the shame, and disappointment. So we cover ourselves up to disguise the truth. We don’t want anyone to discover who we really are, or they may not accept us or let us into their lives.

And this is not just true inside the church, which is popular to bash these days. I am talking about something more relevant. I mean we all hide the junk in our past or present, or at least try our very best to.

We always answer the question, "how are you doing," with "fine." Are you really fine today?

We smile at church when we are really hurting inside. We laugh and hang with our friends and family but never break down our walls, until we are finally forced to because we are out of answers and options.

I am ready to start living a life that is more transparent. I want to come to God, and my friends and family sooner then later. I want to get their advice, council, and wisdom BEFORE pain occurs so that I am better equipped when the garbage hits the fan in my life.

Its time to wake up spiritually! Today is the day to get committed to Christ.

Romans 13:11-12 says, "The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here."

It’s time to get serious.

Life is surely way too short to gamble with our souls. Isn’t it?

If we are not growing in our daily walk with Jesus as followers of the Gospel then we are fading.

The great theologian and preacher John Wesley once said about the growth of his relationship with God: "Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame, if I cannot write better sermons now than I did seven years ago."

He understood that he could not rely on his past, but he needed to be developing and nurturing his relationship with Jesus.

Today is a day to renew our relationship with Jesus and ask for revival in our hearts. Not the cheesy "Christian" word revival, but a total explosion of emotion and zeal for Jesus. The way you feel when you meet a new girl, start a new job, or the way you felt the day you fell in love with Jesus. A fresh start, clean slate, and fire in my chest.

Romans 12:11-13 says this about having Passion and Zeal for our relationship with Jesus: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

Do you remember the way you felt when you gave your life to Christ? Why did you fall in love with Him in the first place? Why do you want to choose to continue to fall in love with Him even today?

Keith Green the musician and author wrote this about our spiritual priorities: "If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence…? You’d be bored to tears in heaven, if you’re not ecstatic about God now!"

Unmasking our sin in front of people, the ones who REALLY care about us, is so important. If we come to people and get real with our problems and pains then they can take us consistently and constantly to the Cross, where we can finally learn to allow Jesus to wash us clean.

You are much too valuable to God, to not spiritually be maintaining and paying attention to your soul. He has given us Godly relationships, wise pastors, loving family members, and His Son Jesus to restore and prepare our souls for eternity in the presence of God.

Opening up and becoming more "see through" is a very scary place. It reveals flaws and broken places that we hide, but to allow God to rip the bandages we have placed on ourselves and heal us is totally worth whatever uncomfortable ness there may be in publicly disclosing the junk in our past.

There is healing and restoration in coming back to the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to take our hood off our face.

I am sinner saved by grace, and a poser in an oversized spiritual sweatshirt. With the compassion of Jesus available to each one of us, today is the day that we can become more real, open and transparent.

A final thought today to ponder.

"Go forth today, by the help of God’s Spirit, vowing and declaring that in life—-come poverty, come wealth, in death—come pain or come what may, you are and ever must be the Lord’s. For this is written on your heart, ‘We love Him because He first loved us.’" --Charles Spurgeon
Posted April 27, 2009 Josh Petersen serves as the Manager of Marketing and Retail Promotions for Centricity Music. Before holding this position he worked for S/R/E Records as Marketing Manager, working with Flyleaf, Disciple, The Rocket Summer, Todd Agnew, and more. He lives in Franklin, TN, and has previously served as a part time band pastor. He enjoys golf, collecting Frank Sinatra records, finding new ways to promote Christian Music, and watching Ohio State Buckeyes football.