Monday, August 9, 2010

Cure the Cough...

1 Cor 15:12 " Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? "

For most of my life I have had asthma. In the past year it has gone away and is basically non-existent, aside from those moments where I get extremely sick. I remember when I was younger though my asthma was a major issue. There were days that I couldn't go without at least taking a puff of my medicine three times along with a pill every morning. There was a point though where I went for a while without the doctor. Not the wisest decision. I mean, I felt fine, I looked fine, I worked out fine, my breathing was fine, however, on the inside my lungs were just preparing for a breakdown.

One night after painting for a friend, I remember sitting down and having a nasty pain in my chest. Breathing became difficult. I was rushed to the hospital. The doctors gave me x-rays and medicine and for a while I was on a non-stop aerosol treatment. They gave me some medication and I walked out, only this time, I had the mind set of a person who wasn't going to toy with his asthma. I remember buying books on it and learning all I could about it so that I could make sure it didn't happen again.

When I sat down with a pulmonologist and really got into detail with asthma, it was then that I understood what the issue was, it was then that I really had a grip on where I was going wrong. What does all that have to do with the above verse, after all Paul wrote it as a question to the Corinthians because some of them doubted the resurrection. "Well Chris, I am not having an issue doubting the resurrection!" Are you now?

Paul uses the word say, however, these days we know that from our mouths come one thing, but our actions can speak something else. I think one of the diseases that plagues a lot of Christians these days, myself included, is that sometimes we tend to live our lives as if the resurrection never took place. Say What? Yeah, we live our lives lacking that zeal you would find from something as radical as the resurrection.

It is called being spiritually idle and if left untreated, you’ll end up spiritually dead. James warns us about this in James 2 when he tells us that faith without works is dead. Which is to say, faith should produce in us works, why? Well because when you come to realization of the resurrection that took place in your life when you were made new (2 Cor 5:17), that overwhelming joy should lead you to want to do good. Sometimes though, as Christians, we become idle, we lose focus. Why? We forget. But why do we forget?

I know for me, back when I forgot on an hourly basis, it had a lot to do with the microwave society we live in. These days there is something about patience that none of us seem to care to much for. We want stuff now. We forget “Be still and know that I am God”, we forget that God waited for us to come around, now it’s time we wait for His perfect plan to unfold (Isaiah 30:18). What’s interesting about impatience is that it goes hand in hand with weak faith. Patience comes from faith. How do I know? Because I lived it. I wanted the perfect life now. The perfect life comes later, right now it is all about living life for Him. Being patient. Patience is a sign of faith, because it means you are waiting on Him to do His work. You are waiting on Him to blow you up into what He wants you to be, and while you wait, you are to Prov 3:5-7 and Luke 10:27 it up. It is going to take patience, but it is worth it. 8 months have passed and I still don't understand how or why He has done what He has done. He is restoring my years (Joel 2:25). I love Him....

Ask James (James 1:2-4), patience makes us complete. Patience gives us a stronger faith. When we become impatient, it is a sign of a weak faith. We are like what James describes as a wave, tossed to and fro. What we need to realize is just how radical the resurrection is. We need to come to grips with just how awesome our God is. We need to let Him drop His God bomb and leave our hearts desolate of anything, so that He can take every last fragment and reconstruct the city He wants, the city on a hill, whose walls are solidified by the blood of His son.

So what does that have to do with asthma. Well, consider this: Imagine what would have happened had I only spent a few minutes with the doctor. Sure he would have given me some medication for my symptoms, however, he may not have figured out what the source of the issue is. A cough can easily be fixed, however, that still doesn't resolve the asthma issue, and like many drugs these days, over time that cough medication just would not have cut it. In the beginning I'm sure it would have sufficed, but eventually the asthma would have been severe enough that no amount of cough medication would have been able to stop it.

Now when I spent hours with the doctor, not only did he know I had a cough, but he got to the root of the issue. He got to my asthma. He then prescribed things to reduce my asthma and keep it at bay. Asthma isn't a curable disease at the moment, however, keeping it at bay is better than letting it run rampant. In the same way, we sometimes tend to treat the symptoms of our sin, rather than the root cause. What is at the root of it all? Why is it you curse so much? Why is it you lie so much? What is it causes you to be so insecure? Get to the root cause of the issue, don't just treat the symptoms. Spend time in the word AND prayer. You have to talk to the doctor about your issues. Sure God knows them, but He wants a relationship. Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.

Get honest with Him, it is the only way you can be broken to the point where He can fix it. It's like cutting weeds, eventually they'll grow back. Now, rip them from the root, and they're gone. Treat the soil with anti-weed agents, and you'll keep them at bay. We can't get rid of sin, it's impossible, only after we stand in the His presence will we then be without it. However, we can be students of His word and apply those principles to our lives. His word is the antidote to our issue. The resurrection is more than just words in a book, it's life, and life to the fullest. It is freedom.

In his book the Prodigal God, Timothy Keller poses what I think is an awesome description of the radical change that takes place in our lives.

It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord -lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness- that you are on the verge of understanding the gospel and becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything: how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, your sins, your virtue. It’s called the new birth because it’s so radical. - Timothy Keller (The Prodigal God)

There is more to it than just living a good life. Don't just treat the symptoms, treat the cause, and be honest with yourself and Him, it's all He wants.....just admit're bankrupt without Him. We need Him, not His blessings, just Him. His greatest promise to us is Himself, everything else is just bonus, and imagine, we have Him, yet we always want more...what more is there?

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