Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 3: Strip Search

Doomsday Preppers:  an Advent devotional

Day 3: Strip Search

Have you ever been asked a question that shook you to your core?  A question that was so deep or so paradigm changing that answering the question shapes you for the rest of your life?  

A few years ago, I came across a question like this.  In his book, Crazy Love, Frances Chan asks the reader to consider the following scenario:  If you got to Heaven and everything you ever wanted was there, but Jesus was no where to be found, would you still be happy to be there?  Then he asks, what if nothing you wanted was in Heaven was there except Jesus, how would you feel?  In other words, if you had to choose between a Heaven with everything you ever wanted, but no Jesus and a Heaven with nothing but Jesus, which would you pick?

What shook me up so much about that question was that when you strip the subject of Heaven down to those terms, you get no-holds-barred, hardcore look at what your priorities and desires really are.  Being struck with that kind of truth can be gut wrenching, but it's something that we all must do in order extract the junk from our lives, purify our souls and prepare our hearts for Christ's coming.  Romans 12:3 states, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."  Seeing yourself and your situations as they are at the core, not what facades are in place, is the key to faster and more efficient growth toward Christ.

This type of self "strip searching" can help us to see many things about ourselves and our relationship with Christ clearer.  As you prepare your heart for Christmas and prepare yourself for Christ's second coming, get in the practice of asking yourself these kind of strip search questions from time to time.  Here are some examples to get you started:

1.  If you stripped Christmas of all the tinsel, decorations, traditions, family, and presents, if Christmas was just about you and Christ, what would it mean to you and how would you celebrate it?

2.  If you stripped yourself of all your possessions your job, your family and friends, your environment, your body, your age, your past and everything else that you use to define who you are and were left only with Jesus, who would you be?

3.  During your prayer time, if you stripped your prayers of all the words you say, would your soul still be communicating with God?  What would it be saying? 

Activity:  Spend some time praying that God helps you see as He sees and then with paper and pencil, answer each of the three questions above.  Spend at least five minutes on each question to make sure you give yourself enough time to think beyond your regular, surface answers.  Then look around at difficulties in your life and see if you can come up with at least one other "strip search" question to answer.

Prayer:  Spend time praying the God shows you glimpses of who you are apart from all the earthly things we use to define ourselves.  Pray that any falsehoods in your life that cloak the true intentions of your heart are peeled away so that you may see any roadblocks between you and Christ.  Pray that you may continue to grow toward Christ and toward becoming the person He created you to be.

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