Broken people remember…

12 Jun

I have always thought it was a little strange that Jesus told his disciples that one of the purposes of the Lord’s Supper was so that they would remember him.

How could they ever forget Jesus?

It seems like it would be somewhat difficult to forget someone you left everything for, someone you saw do the kinds of things Jesus did, someone who died on a cross and then got up a few days later.

Jesus, of course, wasn’t concerned that they would forget the facts of his life or that he existed; this remember has to do more with love, appreciation, gratitude, overwhelming kind of awe and we all know that it is easy to lose that.

I think it was Paul Tripp who said that the problem with a lot of people’s Christianity is that it is missing Jesus. He didn’t mean that they didn’t talk about Jesus or know the name of Jesus, what he meant was that Jesus was not central in their lives, something else was and sometimes that something else is something good by itself even, it is just that that particular thing wasn’t meant to most important.

When you think about it like that, you can probably see how the Christian life is a fight to remember, a fight to keep the central person central.

I recently finished a book that helped me remember. It is called Red like Blood and it is about God’s amazing and shocking grace.

One of the images they used to picture grace was liquid. They said grace is more like a liquid than it is a solid. You can put something solid like a glass on a table, leave, come back and it will still be sitting there. Pour water directly onto the table and the situation is going to be a little different. It is going to go everywhere. Grace like liquid doesn’t stay in one place in our hearts, it seeps into the darkest corners and transforms what it finds there. As the author puts it, “It flows. But grace does need one thing. It needs cracks. The bigger the crack, the deeper the grace will penetrate. A soul with no cracks is like a piece of marble. Grace just runs off but never gets in.”

That’s good.

And I think it points us to one of the essentials for remembering Jesus and that is regularly sensing your need for Him. Why is it so easy for us to become distracted from the Savior? It’s because we so easily forget how desperate we are for salvation. When you have been a Christian for a period of time it can become especially easy to forget how broken you are, which is ironic of course, because that reveals just how broken you really are!

There are so many things every day that reveal your need for Jesus. I think it is good every once in a while to just stop and reflect on these kinds of things, not to stay there in shame, but to turn from there to rejoice in forgiveness. Anyway, here are a couple examples I was thinking about in my life just this morning:

1.) The way I can get frustrated when others don’t do exactly what I want. You know one great illustration of that? The way I am tempted to react when someone cuts me off in the car or goes slow around a turn or well, I think you get the idea. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be pretty funny how quickly that feeling can surge up in your soul when someone just goes slower than you think he should in the car in front of you. How weird is that? It’s like going to take you thirty more seconds to get to work maybe because of the way he is driving but sometimes in that moment, there can be real anger there towards someone else. That’s called being broken.

2.) The way I can sometimes be the least patient with the people who need the most patience. Have you ever tried to teach someone to read? Now, when you are trying to teach someone something, at least for me, one of the things I have noticed is that it is so much easier to be excited about teaching when someone is quick to learn. On the other hand, when someone is slow and they just can’t get it, it can become so discouraging and what’s even crazier is that you can end up getting upset with the person as if it were their fault. Here’s this person that maybe isn’t as gifted intellectually as the other person and as a result, what do they need, they need more patience and more teaching, and yet it is so easy to respond to them in the exact opposite way. You know what that’s called? Being broken.

3.) How difficult it is for me to love the people I love most as much as I love myself. I really love my wife and kids. If you were going to ask me what I do best in life and I think I would probably say the thing I am best at is loving my family. But look, don’t think I am getting proud here because you know what, when I compare the love I have for them to the standard God gives me when he says that I am to love them the way I love myself, I hang my head in shame. Seriously. Take money as an illustration. I am a saver by nature. You give me money and I will usually find much more joy in thinking about how I can save it then how I can spend it. Yet, obviously when there’s a need in my life, like says something big, like going out for coffee then I am not going to think too hard about whether or not I should do that. I don’t question that decision usually. But what if my wife wants to spend some money on a shirt when she needs it – and it’s a tight month? What’s my first instinct? I would almost always want her to buy the shirt, but usually I will be very tempted to talk a little about how we really don’t have much money to spend this month because of this or that. A little guilt to go along with the new shirt. Now if you knew my wife, you would stand up and shout right along with me, that’s one broken brother.

I suppose some in the world might think that all this reflecting on one’s brokenness is an example of someone’s brokenness, but I don’t think so. It’s actually as I remember my brokenness that I begin to be healed; because of course I don’t stop with my brokenness. As I think about some of these illustrations of what is wrong with me, and there are so many more, seeing all these different cracks doesn’t drive me to despair. It drives me to the Savior. There is a Savior for people like me. While other broken people see my brokenness and will often use that as an excuse for trying to break me some more, the one person who has ever lived who wasn’t broken in anyway, sees my brokenness and is willing for his body to be broken on the cross to make me whole.

2 Responses to “Broken people remember…”

  1. jtontwothree June 14, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    Josh, this was a beautiful picture of the gospel. I co-sign # 1, 2, and 3 in shame and hopelessness were it for not for Jesus.

  2. Randy Clark June 14, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Thanks for being so down to earth and real. I knew there was a reason I felt so comfortable bringing my family to RSA to work alongside you

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