Our adult class at church has been working through John Ortberg’s book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” recently. We’re only a few chapters in so far, but it’s already been easily worth its while. The subtitle of the book is “Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People”, but it’s about way more than just making “spiritual habits”. It’s about real change in our lives and how one goes about actually becoming what he or she is called to be. A few highlights so far…
“Now with God’s help, I shall become myself.” (Soren Kierkegaard)
“Too often people think about their ‘spiritual lives’ as just one more aspect of their existence, alongside and largely separate from their ‘financial lives’ or their ‘vocational lives’. Periodically they may try to ‘get their spiritual lives together’ by praying more regularly or trying to master another spiritual discipline. It is the religious equivalent of going on a diet or trying to stick to a budget.
The truth is that the term spiritual life is simply a way of referring to one’s life—every moment and facet of it—from God’s perspective. Another way of saying it is this: God is not interested in your ‘spiritual life’. God is just interested in your life.” (Ortberg)
In speaking of whether the changes we seek in our lives are authentic changes in the depths of who we are… or something less, these thoughts hit me with some special force…
“If you are weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably God is as weary of it as you are.” (Frank Laubach)
“This was the great irony of his [Jesus’] day: The ‘righteous’ were more damaged by their righteousness than the sinners were by their sin.” (Ortberg)
“The strongest argument for Christianity is Christians, when they are drawing life from God. The strongest argument against Christianity? Also Christians, when they become exclusive, self-righteous, and complacent.” (Ortberg)
We can find ourselves as “a ‘peculiar people’ set at odd angles to the world rather than being an attractive light illuminating it. As a result, our morality calls out rather feebly. It whines from the corner of a sanctuary; it awkwardly interrupts pleasures; it mumbles excuses at parties; it shuffles along out of step and slightly behind the times… It’s often regarded by our secular contemporaries as a narrow, even trivial, pursuit… Tragically, conventional religious goodness manages to be both intimidating and unchallenging at the same time.” (Steven Mosley)
Jesus makes so much sense to me. He’s way out there, don’t get me wrong. He thinks unlike anyone else I know. What I mean is that his ways make such greater sense than anyone else’s do… I just get a very strong feeling that he is right. About everything.
The logical question then… How can his followers (Exhibit A: Jason) get so much so wrong so often?
Solution: Let’s fall in surrender, die to all lesser calls than his, and give whatever it takes to be altered. Easier said than done? Of course. So what?
A new creation is calling.