Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Put Down the Panzy, and Pick Up the Panzer

My parents grew up as Christians in Romania during a time when Communism ruled. I don't know how much you know about Communism, but simply put: it's bad. Because my parents were believers, the government did not allow them to "move up the ladder," so to speak. They grew up without much of the excess and comfort that many of us consider essential to daily life.

Much of what my parents did went to assist their family and support the cause of their well-being. Therefore, when they were faced with an opportunity to help their families, it wasn't a choice. It was something they had to do. Because they loved their families. Now, I don't want to glorify my parents or put them up on some kind of pedestal. They did what they had to do and got by. For them, it was a state of mind - not some kind of glory-seeking self-exalting heroism.

Recently, I've been reading John Piper's book, Don't Waste Your Life. I already brought up something about it a little while ago, but I'm learning a lot, so I thought I'd share more. In one section of the book, Piper discusses what he calls a "wartime lifestyle." I figure it's pretty apt to talk about wartime living considering the fact that the entire Bible is littered with the idea that we are to be fighting against the enemy, sin and darkness and battling for the cause of Christ. (Ephesians 6; 2 Cor. 12:15)

"In wartime we ask different questions about what to do with our lives than we do in peacetime. We ask: What can I do to advance the cause? What can I do to bring the victory? What sacrifice can I make or what risk can I take to insure the joy of triumph? In peacetime we tend to ask, What can I do to be more comfortable? To have more fun? To avoid trouble and, possibly, avoid sin?"
You see, these two perspectives are very different. To live with a wartime mindset is to make sure that your life is consumed with nothing else but "Jesus Christ and him crucified." It is to stop viewing your life as the accomplishment of several small goals with Jesus on the side, and to start finding out what His call on your life is and pursuing it. It is straightforward. It is intentional. But most of all, it is the death of you. The death of your desires, goals, and wants. This is what Paul had in mind when he said to, "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

But keep in mind, this sacrifice is not the end of your joy, but the beginning. We often hold such a rigor-mortis grip on our desires because we believe that they will satisfy our thirsty souls, but Paul knew what he was talking about when he said, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Phil. 3:8) As a man who had given everything for the cause of Christ, he was incessantly joyful in knowing his Savior.

So put down the panzy, and pick up the panzer.


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