Monday, December 21, 2009
I hadn't planned on participating in Blog Kissing Day today, but who wants to be on the cranky side of Sherrinda, Karin and Krista?
I hope you enjoy this kissing scene from my book, "God is Bigger"
When our children were tiny, neither of them could pronounce the letter “L.” Esther said it like a “Y” so that “I like you” came out “I yike you.” Ron’s sounded like “W” where “pillow” turned into “piwwow.” It was especially amusing when Esther was five and Ron was two, because neither had yet outgrown this little impediment.
One afternoon I paused from a book I was reading and asked, “Who wants to give Mommy a kiss?”
“A kiss on the yips?” said Estie.
Ron hotly corrected, “Not the yips, the wips!”
“Someone just give me a kiss!” I laughed.
Since the kids were too consumed with where to kiss me and how to say it, they missed the point of my simple request.
I wonder how often I behave the same way toward God. He says, “Talk to Me, please.” I argue, “Right here, in the middle of Wal-Mart? Can’t I at least wait ‘til I get in the car, or home in the bedroom on my knees?”
He asks, “Do a favor for that person who treated you nasty.” I argue, “And let them hurt me again?” As if God doesn’t know them, and I can’t trust Him to keep me safe or heal my hurt.
He tells me, “Just relax.” I want to make a list of forty-seven ways to relax, and then check them off as I do them!
Why do we enjoy complicating things? Does it make us feel important and powerful? Do we think we are helping God express Himself better than He could on His own?
Every year, bookstores sell millions of books on “how to live the Christian life.” Books like these can be helpful. They can also confuse us, if the messages contradict each other or have so many “steps to success” that we feel overwhelmed.
The Bible is not a list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” It is a roadmap to eternal life, a comfort in stress and sorrow, and a handbook for successful living. If we turn it into merely a rule book, it appears harsh and demanding. After awhile, we conclude that God is harsh and demanding, too. If we don’t memorize a verse a day or bow our heads while praying, we might think we’re displeasing God. Then when He says, “Give me a kiss,” we strive to learn how to pronounce it correctly and where to plant it!
Someone once asked Jesus, “What must I do to work the works of God?” His answer still shocks us: “Believe on Me, because I am the One sent from God.”
What? No do-do-doing stuff to impress God? Just trust in Jesus? Can it really be that simple?
I believe so. If you love someone, you will want to make them happy. Spending time with them, just getting to know each other, will come naturally. You don’t need them to fill out a questionnaire on what color tissues they like to blow their nose on, how many pickles they prefer on their sandwich, and what order they go on the rides at Disney World. That would subtract all the joy from your relationship.
Yet that’s what we do when we make Christianity into a religion instead of the relationship it was meant to be.
God doesn’t search for achievers. What He’s looking for are believers. A few good men, women, boys and girls who will trust Him enough to place their entire life in His hands. To go where He says go, to have faith in His love, and to believe His word even when situations look hopeless.
I know it’s harder to do that than following a long list of rules, because it requires listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, rather than men’s traditions. It means going to God for advice instead of Aunt Shirley or a talk show psychiatrist. It means believing in Jesus as the one and only Son of God.
It is called “faith,” and it's the only kiss God wants for Christmas.