Monday, February 02, 2009

The Dance

I've always noticed that a lot of the time people who are the most self-absorbed and concerned about their own well being and happiness are ironically the most unhappy and isolated.

In The Reason for God, Tim Keller explains why this is from a Biblical perspective:
[Because of man's fall into sin] we became stationary, self-centered. And according to Genesis 3, when our relationship with God unraveled, all our other relationships disintegrated as well.
Self-centeredness creates psychological alienation. Nothing makes us more miserable than the self-absorption, the endless, unsmiling concentration on our needs, wants, treatment, ego, and record.
In addition, self-centeredness leads to social disintegration. It is at the root of the breakdown in relationships between nations, races and classes, and individuals.

We lost the dance. The dance of joyful, mutually self-giving relationships is impossible in a world where everyone is stationary, trying to get everything else to orbit around them.

However, God does not leave us there. The Son of God was born into the world to begin a new humanity, a new community of people who could lose their self-centeredness, begin a God-centered life, and, as a result, slowly but surely have all other relationships put right was well.

If you respond to [Jesus], all your relationships will begin to heal.

There are a few key phrases that I always like to repeat to the church; catchy sayings to help them remember key Biblical truths.
One of them is: Jesus makes you normal.

I really believe that sin makes people weird - because of sin things aren't right in the world; a lot of things are backwards and messed up.
But when a person comes to Jesus, he begins to makes them normal. The begin to think and act normally - the way God intended.

One of my favorite examples of this is in Mark 5, where there is this crazy guy who hangs out around the cemetery, running around naked, screaming scaring people, and cutting himself with rocks. He was a punk rocker, apparently.
And then the guy meets Jesus, and Jesus ministers to him - and then the next thing you read about him is that the people were amazed when they saw this man "sitting down, clothed, and in his right mind." (Vs 15)
The guy was weird. Jesus made him normal.

In our church, we've been able to see this too - as people get closer to Jesus, the more normal they become.
Of course there are some Christians out there who are pretty strange, and some even use Christianity as an excuse to be strange - but that is certainly in spite of Jesus and not because of Jesus.

As Keller is pointing out, one of the greatest ways God changes us when we come to Him is by getting our eyes off of ourselves and inviting us to be part of "the dance", a God-centered and others-centered life, in which we find true joy by getting out of our static, self-centered existence, and thus become more like the Triune God, who is in 3 persons who exemplify love by not focusing on themselves, but by glorifying one another.

I want to be part of that dance!

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