6.) Your fears are exaggerated and unrealistic.
I don’t get into conspiracy theories. But, if you live long enough, a conversation about some far-fetched, wildly unrealistic scenario eventually finds you.
A culture drowning in riches is also drowning in unrealistic and exaggerated fears. We have no real needs, access to unlimited information and an unhealthy amount of free time. The result is fabricated fears.
You know who doesn’t entertain conspiracy theories? People with real needs. People whose eyes are fixed on the cross.
7.) You don’t know how to receive from others.
“Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. … Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God.” Oscar Romero
Jesus says it’s more blessed to give than receive. While this is true (I’m not one to question Jesus), I also know it’s more difficult to receive. When given a compliment, especially from a stranger, what’s your first response?
“Thank you? I appreciate it?”
Of course not. The natural inclination is to divert it.
You can tell a lot about yourself by how you respond to compliments. If someone approaches you and says, “That was a powerful sermon,” “You look pretty today,” or “You’re a talented writer, artist, mother, etc.” how do you respond?
I meet few Christians who respond with “Thank you.” But, when I do, it tells me something about that person. They are humble. They know how to receive gifts. They aren’t power hungry or control freaks.
Receiving a gift (without repaying or refusing it) requires humility. You’re indebted to the giver. You allow another person to have power and control. And this is why most Americans are awful receivers. The American Dream is built on independence and self-sufficiency. Freedom means you’re indebted to no one.
We’d much rather be givers. We love helping the poor, especially at Christmas, while our greatest fear is being poor at Christmas. We love buying gifts for family, but opening gifts from others is more awkward than a middle school relationship.
We’re better givers than receivers because we’re prideful and arrogant, not generous.
But here’s the real issue. Until we approach God with a posture of humility and total dependence, we won’t receive his gifts.
Rich, self-sufficient people can’t fathom the gift of grace. They might accept the gift. But they turn around and work to repay it, nullifying the gift.
God’s promises can only be received. They can’t be earned. We say grace is a gift, but it’s incomplete without works. God says grace is the work. We say salvation is a gift, but you must follow certain steps and maintain a level of morality. God says the only step to salvation is approaching Him with empty hands.
Until we see ourselves as poor, needy and completely dependent on God, we won’t receive His gifts.
The American Dream isn’t God’s dream. The life Jesus modeled stands in stark contrast to the values of America, in particular, and the world, in general. We are poor and helpless. To see Jesus, we must accept this. Americans hold no special claim over God.
The door to Jesus is open to anyone … just leave your stuff outside.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!