This morning in the coffee shop I had this really typical conversation with a young lady. I ordered my usual, a decaf quad Americano. Well, it’s my new usual, really. I had the stomach sick about a month ago and since I wasn’t able to eat, I kicked the caffeine. I figured I might as well keep up that good habit and switched to decaf.
Anyway, so the conversation started with my order and next came her questions and then my confession that I don’t drink caffeine. She then asked me, with sincere bewilderment, “How do you wake up in the morning?”
In some ways I find this kind of thing delightful because I like to mess with established assumptions about reality, but in other ways I find it disturbing that in so many ways we’re all still in high school.
I’m not making jabs at this young woman because The Need For Coffee is just a symptom of a bigger issue. That issue is our fenced in thinking.
You might be shocked to hear a missionary invite you to be open minded, but that’s just what I’m doing….
What if you don’t need the things you say, “I couldn’t live without that?” What if you really could survive and live a joyful life on the other side of events that you now say, “I could never live through that?”
Ever since we studied the book of Romans I’ve been thinking about this idea of a new creation. We talked about the reality of these two big words, Justification and Sanctification. I’m not going to get too Bible-y on you in the middle of the night, but when those words stop just being churchy and start becoming a part of your daily life, it’s pretty mind blowing. I’m not talking about becoming a sinless person. If you think that’s possible in this life, I invite you to give me the names of those people that you know who are currently sinless.
What I’m talking about is 1. how God sees his children and 2. what it really means to not only believe that’s how he sees us, but begin to rely on him to live that out.
The point of my bringing this up is that I had a funny little revelation a while back about our dear old pal, Coffee. For reasons that will be uninteresting to you, I started thinking months ago that I should quit drinking coffee. I had that thought, “How could I live without it?” and immediately following that I felt like God said to me, “I have given you everything you need for life and godliness.”
Hear me. I’m not saying coffee is sinful. At. All.
What I really believe God was telling me was that nothing has to have power over me. If it’s better for me to stop drinking caffeine? I can.
There are plenty of really difficult things that have happened in my life which I did not choose. Do I have to be bitter and sad all of the time now? Nope. This is because I don’t place my hope in anything but God. At least, I’m learning.
How does that work? Well, I’m new to this, so it may be difficult to articulate.
1 Peter says, “In this (God’s inheritance for those who believe) you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9)
This is not just about putting on a happy face and being super disciplined. It is in my nature to become obsessed with things (addicted, if you will). As I get to know Jesus better, I see that not sinning isn’t about me trying to change my nature- it’s about getting to know Jesus. The better I know him, the more I love him (guys, he’s so amazing!) and the more I love him, the more I want to know of him. This doesn’t change my tendency toward obsession, but it does change what I spend that focused time focusing on.
This might not make any sense. I mentioned above that I’ve stopped drinking caffeine and then brainlessly had chocolate at 4pm today. Excuse me, yesterday. Thus I am awake at 3am writing some random rant about sanctification. My whole point, really, is that God wants to blow the roof off of our cozy, limited world in order to take us on amazing adventures in his love. Not because he doesn’t want us to have what we want, but because he wants us to want what is actually the very best…. Himself.