Today’s blog, written by Pastor Ryun Chang (Teaching Pastor AMI), was first posted on February 4, 2013.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Vulnerability Will Set You Free”
Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
During my daughter’s senior year in high school she was reading three books that were unfamiliar to me, but I didn’t let that keep me from criticizing them; she didn’t like that! So, after reading them eventually, to my amazement, I liked Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and The Shack by William P. Young (but disliked Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change).
Why? Certainly, content matters (i.e., is it biblical?) but ultimately, in reading a book, the reader is personally interacting with the author, and sometimes you end up either really liking the writer or disliking him. In this case, I became quite fond of Miller and Young.
I like unpretentious folks who willingly talk about embarrassing stories about themselves to share lessons learned from them. For that reason, I liked Blue Like Jazz (Don Miller), even though I was bothered by Christians in the book who drank and cussed as if to say, “I am a liberated Christian.” Regardless, it was a good reminder not to be so legalistic.
My favorite character was this cabinet shop worker who drank and cussed but tithed his money. But since he hadn’t gone to church in a while, his tithing money—more than $3,000—was kept in a jar. Upon finding out that Miller didn’t tithe, he lectured him: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Stealing from God and all. You write Christian books and everything, and you’re not even giving God’s money back to Him.”
The bewildered Miller quipped, “I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I get a guilt trip from a fundamentalist.” What irony! A Christian who hardly looked the part taking to task a famous author who made his living writing books about God.
The fact that Miller mentioned this unflattering story blessed me, for I took it to mean that while his reputation may be expendable, the truth was not. What’s the lesson here? Don’t take yourself too seriously! If Jesus, being in very nature God, took the form of a lowly servant, how much more do we need to shed our pride, and become humble and vulnerable to those around us. So practice vulnerability—it can set you free, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
By the way, avoid cussing (Eph. 4:29)!
Prayer: Lord, remind me constantly to shed my false images so that people can see my true inglorious self. Then, remind me that God loves me the way I truly am, warps and all. Help me never to doubt Your love for me expressed in Christ Your Son! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 22-23