(I'm writing this from Fort Lone Tree, a camp outside of Capitan, New Mexico, in the high desert. I've been speaking to a Men's Retreat from Nehemiah 1-4. Friday night and Saturday morning went pretty well, but Saturday night, GOD SHOWED UP...big time. Please pray that things will finish well tomorrow morning, as we wrap it up.)
Meanwhile, back in Philippians....
If you're anywhere in your 30's or early 40's you remember this quote....you can probably name the movie: "We're not worthy". If I remember right, Wayne and Garth were talking to Alice Cooper when the famous line was born. I'm not trying to be anti-Alice Cooper, but I don't think that I would feel "unworthy" to meet him.
In Philippians 1:27, Paul says that we should conduct ourselves in a manner "worthy of the gospel". My first thought is, "nope...can't do it." Worthy of Alice Cooper, I can handle. But my conduct, even on my best days, seems to fall FAARRRR short of being "worthy of the gospel." That's the point, isn't it? None of us are worthy of Christ dying for us. Period.
But Paul tells us to do this. In the Bible. And the Bible would never command us to do something that we simply can't do...would it? That would be like my giving my 12-year-old son a basketball and saying, "Dunk it, Ben". No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't do it.
I'm not completely clear on this passage yet, but let me give you a logical progression of thought. Chew on this and let me know what you think-
1) The gospel says (among other things) that I'm a sinner...that I can't get myself together...that I desperately need a savior....that I'm UNWORTHY.
2) Therefore, conducting myself in a manner "worthy of the gospel" means I'm supposed to conduct myself worthy of the fact that I'm unworthy. Sounds like a nonsense sentence...doesn't it?
3) My conclusion: Paul is telling me to conduct myself as if I KNOW I'm not worthy, but that the God of the universe has placed his love on me anyway. A worthy life is not a perfect life- it's an imperfect life live in gratitude. It's a life that depends on a savior to forgive and rebuild me despite my fallen nature. He has declared me worthy, and He is busy making me into what He has declared me to be.
THAT is not an impossible command. It's an attitude that God is slowly imprinting on my heart. How about you?
By the way- if you read this blog, please let me know. Sometimes I wonder if blogging is like shouting off the deserted edge of the Grand Canyon- or a tree falling the forest...if nobody reads a blog, does it really exist? :-)
In His grip,