I have not always been a Christian. It was in reading John 10:10 that I glimpsed the life promised through and in Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to point fingers and tell people they were going to hell. The message of Jesus is a call to a life of love not self-righteousness. He calls us to love others and stand up against the oppressor. Jesus is all about love and as his followers, we need to be all about love too. Jesus calls us to live radically, love wastefully, and join with others on the way of Jesus.
I have not always lived up to this hope this calling. There was a time when I tried to be what others wanted me to be. There was a time when I played small to not ruffle others feathers. For the last few years, I have been moving into a better place a place where I am comfortable in my own skin where I can be me. I am becoming more and more the kind of person that God made me to be. I know I will never arrive at a perfect me. Life is about living fully experiencing the good, bad, and between. When light shines we say blessed be and when darkness falls we say blessed be. In all seasons of life, we pray, love, and work for the good of all.
I see my own story in the story of Jacob, the original God wrestler. He claimed to be someone he was not and took his brother’s blessing and struggled to become his true self. I too pretended to be what I am not; I tried to be what someone else wanted or thought I should be and played small to please others. No longer! No longer will I do things to please others. No longer will I reduce who I am. No longer will I live for the sake of someone else. I must live my life and be blessing to others because of it. I can and do say I am Robby, here I am. That is what I will do Tuesday night as I go before my church leaders and submit myself for guidance and care to become what I am being called to be I will say here I am.
Bishop John Shelby Spong said, “You and I are emerging people, not fallen people. Our problem is not that we are born in sin; our problem is we do not yet know how to achieve being fully human. The function of the Christ is not to rescue sinners, but to empower you and to call you to be more deeply and fully human than you have ever realized there was the potential within you to be. Maybe salvation needs to be conveyed in terms of enhancing your humanity, rather than rescuing you from it.”
Many things get in our way of living the kind of life we want the kind of life we know we should be living. Justice, beauty, money, food, sex, comfort, approval and many other things prevent us from being fully alive. These things are meant to be treasured. They are good. Yet, nothing is more important than living this life fully and experiencing all of it giving thanks to the source of all of life. Anything that causes us to stumble, to veer off the path is a false idol. When we remove idol worship from our lives, we remove the obstacles stopping us from the living as we are meant to live.
As Rob Bell so eloquently writes in Velvet Elvis, “Your job is the relentless pursuit of who God has made you to be. And anything else you do is sin and you need to repent of it.”
When I read this, I shouted, “Yes!!” Not aloud since I was in my doctors waiting room, but inside I did shout an emphatic consent. My soul leaped at this simple line. It seemed to right that somehow God gave Bell that line to deliver to me. I have read Velvet Elvis before, but this line spoke to me more now. It seems so right. Sin is not pursuing the life God has graced us with, anything that comes between me and living the life I am meant to live is a sin. I need to repent of some things and begin to pursue more and more the life God means me to live.
I am here making the public declaration that I will live the life God has graced me with the life God means me to live for the blessing of all who come into my life and the glory of God. From this day forward, I will relentlessly pursue life to the full. May you too pursue a full life in Christ.
Grace and Peace