Generation Cedar

That’s right.  I am a slave.  I was purchased and now I no longer belong to myself, but to the One whose blood bought me.

And that changes everything.

Yelling in our ears–and from our own hearts, even, is the message It’s about you! What feels right?  What sounds right?”

Which is to be expected outside of Christ.  But if you claim to be a Christian?

It is nothing about you at all.  Or your feelings, or what you think life should look like.

Absolute surrender to the One who owns me is to be my sole concern.

Or He doesn’t own me.

The funny thing is, we don’t even realize we’re clasping the “me message” so tightly, but we know how we want to feel and what we want to do and if those needs aren’t being met by what we’ve learned about God…

we change Him.

But never ourselves.

He will not be changed.

Paul and the disciples of Christ understood one thing:  they were not their own and whatever that meant for their lives–comfort or dejection, gain or loss, fame or persecution–it was of no matter to them.  They didn’t try to fit their perception of who God is into a box that would make life “work” for them, or fulfill their emotional needs.

If Paul could hear the sniveling of our current Christianity:

“But if I believe that about God it makes me feel bad and I can’t serve a God like that.”

Most of us wouldn’t stand two minutes in the shoes of those Christians who were cast out, hated, tortured and martyred for their faith.

There needs to be a name for this “new Christianity” which is not Christianity at all.

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ “

As purchased property, all that I am and all that I do and all that I believe is no longer my own.  Any agenda outside of serving the One who paid for me is the wrong agenda.  Self-fulfillment must die.

Hard to hear?  Oh my, yes.

And our Lord knew that.  And that’s why “many heard and walked away”.  And that’s why, “Many will say in that day, ‘Lord, Lord’…and I will say to them, ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’.”  And that’s why “narrow is the way and few there be that find it”. And that’s why, “the world will hate you, but remember, it hated Me first”.

The only true fulfillment now is that which is found in losing my life.

To a true follower of Christ, this realization is the sweetest thought that ever entered the mind–a free-fall back into the arms of grace, completely trusting my life into His hands, the One who formed me and knows what is best for me.

To the impostor, it is repulsive.

And the greatest of ironies comes rushing in:

“If the Son has set you free (i.e. you have become My bond-servant), you are FREE indeed!”

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38 Responses

  1. “There needs to be a name for this “new Christianity” which is not Christianity at all.”

    Amen, Kelly

    I don’t even like to refer to myself as a “Christian” anymore when talking to someone because the term is thrown around so loosely (sp?). Lots of folks call themselves Christians and then go about their daily business as if they own themselves.

    I’ve started referring to myself as a “believer” instead.

    1. A “believer” in what? You could be referring to God, or buddha, or even football. At least with the word “Christian” it does give if even a small idea of what you might believe.

      1. A believer in football?LOL

        If I’m speaking with another believer, they know what I mean. If not, and they ask what I mean, I would probably say “I’m a believer in the deity and gospel of Jesus Christ.” But that situation has never come up. How often do people you don’t know ask those questions in a normal day anyway?

        If they ask me “Why not just call yourself a Christian?”,I would explain why (as in my previous comment). This could open up all kinds of opportunities for witnessing to unbelievers.

        1. Well, I’m a “believer” as in I’m a Christian, but if you told me you were a believer, I’d wonder what in. Believer has so many more meanings than “Christian” any day. And yes, around this area (esp since the New Orleans Saints won the stupid super bowl), saying that you are a believer does often mean you are a believer in the New Orleans Saints. The idolatry of sports…

          1. This is why I refer to my self as a Christ Follower only. “Christian” is a very popular unpopular phrase these days…

  2. Great post, Kelly.

    You hit on a key fact of modern “Christianity”: This tendency to remake God in a convenient, human image. This distorted god has no bounadries or standards except the ones set by his maker.

    Sadly, people don’t realize that this makes them god, while claiming to worship the true God.

  3. Very good and true. I wouldn’t discourage people from entirely listening to their instincts, because there are sects (and other religions) that teach very harmful belief systems while claiming God’s law, and sometimes the pain in the heart and the misery of the soul are the first clues that something’s wrong. It’s especially dangerous when people caught in such webs are told that their torn souls are signs of rebellion.

  4. The very WORST example of this post’s message I’ve seen has been from the horrendous book “Conversations with God”. These books make passive New Agers look like aggressive Vikings in comparison: they claim that there is no sin, people don’t harm each other “on purpose”, God doesn’t hate, lesbianism is just “uniqueness”, and Hitler’s in heaven because God forgives everyone and just wants to take us poor delusioned souls into a heaven where we can evolve and progress. The scary thing? Over a thousand people buy this trash. After coming across it, Kelly, I suddenly realized with full clarity the truth of your message “True love must hate” in its entirety.

    1. Jennifer,

      Yep, I’ve seen the books/movie. It is a prime example of “being blown around by every wind of doctrine”–a very palatable, comfortable message.

      While it’s not a totally accurate gauge (and Christians get criticized for using it) looking around to see what the majority of people are following is a good indication to go in the other direction. If a “Christian” book has made it to the best seller list, I’m highly skeptical. That whole “narrow path” thing.

      1. That is a pretty good guide, I’m thankful though that sometimes something that gets to best seller list is great. Think of the movie “Fireproof”. That went pretty high and so did the book “The Love Dare”. But for the most part, I agree.

  5. Wow. VERY powerful. A message we constantly need to be reminded of ~ and need to be discussing with other believers. It is truly amazing how unobtrusively all-pervasive that “ME mentality” really is and how it affects our ability to display Christ.

  6. Kelly, you are a wonderful encouragement! So many people HATE this idea yet is so foundational – We are not our own; we are bought with a price and our obedience should be absolute. How hard that is to us poor sinners! 🙂

    Love the post, sister!

    1. Thanks, Grace.

      I feel the need to say this too…often when we read something from a writer, we assume that the writer has mastered the subject and therefore feels authority to speak on it.

      I am in need of this post as I struggle as much as anyone who reads it. I think the dividing line is that we must never reinterpret truth to relieve our struggling; but rather, as we fight the flesh, understand that “in this life we have trouble” and keep pressing toward the mark.

      1. Kelly, we will all be saddened and weeping when we stand before Christ and realized how very much we got wrong. It is wonderful thing – grace. It is a wonderful thing that when we confess and repent of our sin that God will forgive us and separate it from us as far as the east is from the west. We must all recognize that we lack wisdom and seek it. God is gracious to provide wisdom as it says in James. We also must discuss and learn and meditate upon God’s word daily/hourly. Your blog helps me to do that and that is why I keep coming back. It is a blessing to find that narrow path, to walk it and study to show ourselves approved. May we all learn to think and act in more Godly ways!

        1. Kellys blog has often comfirmed what I had already felt I was being lead to believe through my own prayer time and time spent in Gods word.

          I have no doubt God lead me to her blog.I read other blogs now as well, but when I first found kellys blog I didn’t even know what a blog was.Imagine my surprize.My best friend still thinks I am crazy for the way I talk about Kellys blog but one of these days I am going to make her a kelly fan as well.When I think of people bearing good fruit I always think of Kelly.I hope that othars can say the same of me.However I am no where ner as articulate as kelly.

  7. This is one of your best posts ever, Kelly. Seriously.

    I have been going through this with my DH very often – and it is becoming a conversation that I would almost rather not have. He feels very strongly that “as long as you’re not hurting anyone,” basically anything goes. I KNOW he is wrong. It makes me very sad; I worry for him and pray he will see the Truth – but at the same time know that if I nag him he will tune me out entirely. It worries me for my children as well, but thankfully DH has left much of the religious training to me.

    As for the Christian label, there is a evangelical megachurch down the road that dh frequents. He says they are nice, have children programs, give you stuff to think about, etc. They guide you to a “personal relationship” with Jesus and make sure you go into the baptismal tank, so you are “saved.” They say we need no rules, no “legalistic” rituals. But where is the true teaching? As in, from the Bible? They do not read it. They pull verses here and there and discuss. Ahh, but they are a “bible-believing” church. Sola scriptura. No, they are secular humanists who sing cool worship songs. I am sorry as I know my bitterness is evident.
    If we do not have good teaching, good leaders, who keep Christ in the forefront and the world as self to the background, we will continue to have Christian secular humanists.

    1. Keep praying for your man & pray that he “may be won without a word” as scripture promises. The first 13 years of our marriage, my “Christian” husband was not saved. We went to church together every week, he read the Bible to the kids at night, he was known by many as a humble godly man. But he bore no fruit of repentance. He prayed a prayer as a child, but his heart never changed.
      Last year, through hard questions from our dear pastor, my husband realized that he was never saved. He began crying out to the Lord to save him and praise God, He did! My man has a changed heart. Sadly, family members were SHOCKED to find out he was never a Christian. We are so accustomed to “Christians” who think and act just like the world does.
      Do not try to convince your hubby into the kingdom. Prayer is so much more powerful! Pray for creative ways to share the gospel with him. If he is not saved, he desperately needs your compassion, not your bitterness.
      God is bigger than that fake mega-church. “With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible!”

        1. Liz, I’m very interrested in knowing if you have ever attended this church with your dh?Are your evaluations of the church based on your discernment after attending the church or are they based on your husband’s interpretation of what is taught at this church?

  8. “It is nothing about you at all.”

    I do not see how that is. I do not approve, or find it biblically correct to think God does not think it is about us at all. it is evident that He chooses us, uses us, loves us, and wants us. It indeed is about us. We just are not God.

    This Christian message also spreads like wildfire; I do not know why so many think it is a message that has not traveled far. I certainly have heard it too many times to count, myself! It is a popular one, and just as erroneous as the counter-argument.

    1. “just as erroneous as the counter-argument.”

      Yes, that’s what they are saying, which is the point of my post. You say it’s erroneous and I say, prove Scripture wrong because that’s the basis of my belief system. If you and I don’t agree on what the Bible says, we have nothing to talk about.

      “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” 1 Cor. 6:20

    2. Ellowynne, you may wish to look into Stacy Mcdonald’s book “Maidens of Virtue” and read one specific chapter, “I Love me I love me not”. She offers brilliant thoughts on the balance between seeing our worth in God and putting His design over our own, rather than live for self.

    3. “I do not see how that is. I do not approve, or find it biblically correct to think God does not think it is about us at all. it is evident that He chooses us, uses us, loves us, and wants us. It indeed is about us. We just are not God. ”

      Of course God thinks about us but it is not about us. It is about His holiness and our sin. We are designed to worship Him and bring Him glory; that is our purpose for being. We are often referred to in Scripture as worms and warned not to think too highly of ourselves.

      Why does He care for us? We love Him because He first loved us – It is all about God and not about us. Scripture makes it clear : we are bought with a price, our sin is hideous in His sight and He cannot tolerate it. As Christians our lives should be about serving Him and obedience to Him, should they not?

  9. “They say we need no rules, no “legalistic” rituals”

    Arghh!! No rules? What are they, children at a spiritual playground?

    Ellow, your points are valid, but I don’t think Kelly’s saying what you think she is. God thinks of us all the time, and the best thing we can do for ourselves is obey Him, follow HIS design for our lives, not our own. It’s also about raising His plans, His agenda and His Name above our own.

  10. There is so much wisdom in this post. We were bought at the ultimate price … the crucifixion of Jesus. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your heart on this important topic.

    Blessings,
    Luci

  11. Could I get your permission to repost this on my blog? You just say this so much more eloquently than I could!! (I will, of course, give you full credit and link back to your site.)

  12. The very nature of relationships tells us that we are important and not only designed solely for the other person. There is give and receiving, and receving being just as important. It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but that doesnt denote receiving as wrong(i.e.-it is prideful to not receive-i.e.-it is a blessing to allow others to serve us, etc.) That is just one example. I mean think about it. Saying every other relationship operates differently than Gods, on every level and manner? Impossible. We are created in HIS image, period. The human experience has many commonalities with what God is like. Jesus proved that, when he walked the earth and lived as a human. Sometimes I feel we treat God like He is this alien-being that we cannot possibly, on any level, know what He is like. That we are a completely detached species-yet the Bible says we are made in HIS image.

    My parents do not just use me as a means to an end. Others who truly love us do not do that either. Yet I am supposed to believe that this is the way God treats me? I do not treat my children as a means to an end. The very obvious and irrefutable nature of healthy relationships reveals that God does not treat us as sniveling worms. He wants us, and enjoys us too. You do not feel that God delights in you? But only when you are DOING? Only if worship is present off your lips and pulsating through your veins at every moment? I tell you, if that is the idea, you will never measure up, and fail miserably. In those moments, it is of my opinion that God is able to just sit with us, even when we are worshipless, and desire close commune with us, in the same way we can with our children, our neighbors, and that our parents do with us. To be otherwise takes our humanity away from us, and denies the very way He created us-as HUMANS.

    But maybe I am just being my wormy, high and mighty self?

    1. Ellowynne, I get it I do. I understand your point but we must remember the following verses:

      1.Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

      6.Ezekiel 20:44
      And ye shall know that I am the LORD when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

      We are made for HIS purpose and HIS glory. He is so much better than we are or can ever be. Even Jesus Christ did not think it a worthy thing to consider to be like God but instead chose to be His servant. No one questions whether or not we are loved which is why He sent Jesus. Yet, we will all be judged – we will either go to heaven or hell. Because, though He loves us, He is a HOLY God.

      As far as measuring up – WE WILL NEVER MEASURE UP – not of our own power, that is why Jesus came. We are not worthy of God’s grace but He gives it anyway – because He loved us first not the other way around. He loves us, yes, but He is also holy. We must come to Him on His terms not our own.

      From one worm to another and in Christian love 🙂 Blessings today.

    2. As far as “KNOWING” God … we only know in part because we see in part (bible verse) but when the time comes we will know in fullness.
      We only “know” a small part about God right now. He has told us the things He as done ie. creation, flood, chose Abraham, sent Jesus, built the church, etc. There is more, it’s kinda hard to summarize the whole of Scripture in a few phrases. We also know He is Holy, just, kind, loving, jealous and our judge but above all He is Holy.

      We must consider, as children our parents should not be our friends but instead should be our parents. Once we are older they do become our friends. Jesus is a friend who is closer than a brother. BUT our parents are to instruct us in holiness, teach us to fulfill our future roles, and discipline us when necessary. God wants to instruct us and will discipline us if we (Christians) do not listen and obey. HE is our friend but more than anything else He is our God.

  13. Amen, Amen, Amen, and again – Amen.

    Well put – though hard to hear – but He never does change! His ways are, were, and will always be the Way – the only Way.

    Hard to follow – well, yeah! We’re all sinners, after all! But to change His ways to suit our abilities – in my own (humble) opinion – is not going to bring us any closer. So we try to walk in His ways – and we fail time and again, of course – but that does not stop our trying – and that does not “lower the bar”.

    That just makes us try harder.

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