Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shut Up and Look Up: Letting God Justify

Sunday Message (September 22): CHRIST

Sermon Audio: Listen HERE

We learned that thriving and lasting relationships make Jesus the center of individual identity in last Sunday's message. Tuesday's AfterWORDS explained how praying Romans 8:33b, "It is God who justifies" helps ground your value and esteem in Christ. In this post, I give you a practical way to let God justify and it means you have to shut up! :-)

Facebook fascinates me, not because I like to creep on everyone's life (just a few of you), but because it is an insightful study in our perception obsession. Facebook offers the perfect medium to design the "You" you want the world to see: brand yourself! You don't see a lot of people updating their profile pic with the "triple chin" photo. You don't see a lot of uploaded family vacation pics capturing the special moment when you screamed at your wife and your middle kid hit his brother with a stick! No, it's always the family sitting around the campfire, singing "Kumbayah," sharing S'mores (FYI, the Taylor's do not share S'mores), and sipping hot cocoa. Let's admit it. We are all fatter in real life.

Facebook is simply a symptom of a larger issue: seeking value and worth based on how others see us. That's why we spend a large percentage of our energy trying to get people to see us a certain way: our clothes, our homes, our cars, our hair, and most importantly our words. Many of us devote the largest percentage of our daily words shaping perception by correcting, explaining, and defending. Richard Foster, the Michael Jordan of Spiritual disciplines, says a practical way to put your identity in God and to let him justify is simply to "Shut up and look up!"

The tongue is our most powerful weapon of manipulation. A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding. If I have done some wrong thing (or even some right thing that I think you may misunderstand) and discover that you know about it, I will be very tempted to help you understand my action! Silence [emphasis mine] is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on all self-justification.

One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier....perhaps more than anything else, silence brings us to believe that God can care for us - "reputation and all." 
-Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline)

If you really want to let God justify, start by being quiet. Don't respond. Shut up. Leave it to God.

But what they think about me is wrong....shhhh.
But they are misinterpreting my motives...shhhh.
But they don't like me because of rumors....shhhh.
But that was a mistake, I'm not like that anymore...shhh.

Shhh...shut up and look up. It is so hard but in those moments when you do it,  it is
so freeing!

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