First off, thanks to the folks that threw out recommendations for Romans design ideas on my Facebook page. Romans 12 was mentioned a couple times, so I went with a passage from that chapter. I'll probably do that again, so if you want to know when I'm trolling for ideas, make sure you "like" my Facebook page.
Paul seems like a liar
In Romans, the apostle Paul pretty much lays out the theology of salvation over 16 chapters. There's a lot of stuff he says that boils down to "That is who you were, but in now in Christ, this is who you are." I was lost, but now I'm found. I was in bondage to sin, but now I am free in Christ. Sounds nice, right? But there are still a lot of times where I don't feel found or free. Are you lying to me, Paul?
9:00-9:15 (Think About Jesus)
Recently, I've been thinking about that gap between who the Bible says I am in Christ versus how I often feel. It seems like there are certain things that are true about me in Christ (I'm free from condemnation, I have the joy and peace of God living in me, etc.), but they haven't quite sunk in yet. So there's this process of training my brain to think what is true. That sounds easy enough, right? Just take 15 minutes a day to think about what is true and after a few months, presto! I'll be transformed! Unfortunately, the entire momentum of this fallen world is pushing the other direction for the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day.
So even though I may spend 15 minutes thinking about how I'm accepted and loved by the creator of the universe and I don't need to get life by contrasting myself with other people, the rest of the day I swim in a world where judging others is as common as breathing. Or I'll spend 15 minutes thinking about how Jesus allowed his enemies to crucify him and told me to love people I don't like and pray for people that are do terrible things, but then I step into a world where even some churches say we should thank God for killing terrorists. This may be more difficult that I'd thought.
I only flip off people in Jesus name
There's a part of me that would love to take a shortcut on this. Instead of me changing my thoughts to line up with God's truth, I just take God's truth and make it line up with my thoughts. That punk that cut me of on the freeway? What he did was unjust and Jesus believes in justice, therefore Jesus would have flipped him off and cussed him out too. That enemy of my country who did all sorts of bad things and we finally killed him? Jesus has blessed my country and put my nation in a place to enact his justice and vengeance, so I thank God for killing that motherf**ker.
I may flip people off and rejoice in someone's death, but saying that Jesus agrees with me and is on my side is simply ridiculous.
My name is Jim and I'm an addict
It seems like a big part of this transformation involves accepting the fact that I have an addiction to flipping people off and stamping Jesus' name on the ugly things of this world just so I don't need to do the difficult work of changing how I think, live and treat others. From there, it's a matter of noticing when I fall into that old addict pattern and reminding myself that even though it feels so right and just to flip off the guy who cut in front of me or cheer for the death of my nation's enemy, God calls me to something different. Something better. Something beautiful. And every time I fail (there's a lot of that) it's an opportunity to remind myself of what is actually true, beg for forgiveness and ask Jesus to help me change and become more like him.
I guess this may take more than 15 minutes a day.