Generation Cedar

I’ll admit, I love those pretty, colorful memes on Facebook that give me a tiny, “Christian” pep-talk in just a few seconds–“You are amazing and God has awesome plans for you!”

There’s just one problem: it’s not really a biblical message. At all.

And while I, like anyone else, love a good, encouraging word, I’m afraid we’re swallowing a false gospel for the sake of having our feelings stroked.

Don’t get me wrong: we have been made amazing through Christ’s blood and we are now a royal priesthood. And God may have awesome plans for you, or His plans may involve suffering and heart ache. (Think Daniel, Joseph, Apostles…) The Gospel has never been about how the cross will make our earthly lives better or make our dreams come true. It’s about how the cross has made us disciples, devoted to following Christ, come what may.

The truth of the Gospel is that every single disciple of Jesus except one, died a horrible death for their faith. Their earthly plans didn’t turn out to be very shiny and exciting. Imprisonment, torture, mockery, shame and death. That sums up most of their lives. And Jesus’s encouragement to them was: “But eternity.”

Thankfully, we haven’t been called to that kind of suffering. Yet. But still, when we look into Scripture, the “awesome plans” memes don’t really hold up.

Instead of chasing earthly dreams, we have been called to “think on things above not on things on the earth.” To be Heavenly minded. Ouch. Every time. I have a really hard time with this. We all do, I think. Especially because our culture is so inundated with a “me first” ideology.  But even when the well-intentioned Peter rebuked the Jesus he loved for his talk about being killed (a noble perspective, in my opinion), Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan….you do not have your mind on heavenly things but on earthly things.” What Jesus really said to Peter was that earthly-thinking is Satanic, even if your intentions are good.

Scripture urges us to think in an eternal way even while we are here on earth. To make choices with eternity in mind rather than tomorrow. To not lean on our own, earthly understanding, but to trust in the Lord and live with a real kind of faith that believes He is King. Yes, there are earthly things we must attend to here, of course. But when our hearts and minds are really, truly set on eternity, even those things are lived out differently.

He increases, we decrease.

We are not supposed to be building our treasures here. All of this that we think is LIFE is hay and stubble and will be burned up. And the bit about “If anyone desires to save his life he must lose it?” For some that will be literal. For the rest of us it’s our instruction to care less about our comfort, desires and our will, and more about His will and what will glorify Him in this life in order that we may anticipate the next life.

The reality is, this is not our best life now. Our best life is still to come! So we can love and give and serve with reckless abandon because we are going to meet our Savior soon. This isn’t all there is. It’s only a tiny part. And there is great peace in that!

Jesus tells us in John: “In this life you will have trouble.” I don’t see any of those memes, so I made one. It’s not the message we want to hear. But it is the truthful one. If we realize it, we can laugh at the trouble to come and even rejoice, as Scripture says. He has overcome the world!

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for honoring the word in this post. There current normal in the western world is to have been raised on not milk, or meat, but the candy of a few positive scripture verses that usually don’t include the rest of the verse. I find it hard to find anyone that will look at the hard words of Jesus with me, and I find it hard to even get myself to take them seriously. But for the sake of the witness of the scriptures may the Lord take us and truly make us his, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, etc. And have mercy on us that causes us to love his words. All his words. Though we lose our lives in this age, we will live again.

  2. Funny that I just happened to read an article from a blogger who stated the exact same thing as you. She took it a step further and created a beautiful background to the passage in the Old Testament that references a concubine being cut up into twelve pieces. She wanted to make a startling point that all of our cute, Scriptural sayings and often quoted-out-of-context, eye-dazzling graphics are actually a state of our shallow Christianity.

    Social media is brimming with shallow Christianity, justified by a verse or two. I so value your desire to call us higher, to the truth of God’s word. That if we want to live godly lives we WILL suffer persecution (of course, varying degrees). Christians seem afraid of how that message sounds, but they forget the remainder….that if we endure to the end, we will reign with Him eternally!! What better news!!!!

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