The best you that you can be.

One of the things that annoys me a little bit is the mentality that a lot of middle schoolers, high schoolers, and a few adults have. The mentality of being positive all the time, and using quotes that deal with following your heart, dreaming big, and being the best you that you can be. The world isn’t positive all the time, and it shouldn’t be. The world should always be hopeful and loving. Jesus wasn’t positive all the time, but He was always hopeful and loving. He wept when Lazuras died, and sweat blood before He was crucified, but He was never hopeless. I think some of the reasons I’m not a fan of this mentality is because I use to think this way. If you met me before my junior year of high school you met positive, philosophical, motivational Austin. I was all about being nice, being up beat, being motivational, and making world peace. I was so close, but so far away at the same time. It was all a fluffy cover on a vicious problem. Trying to encourage and motivate by human effort can’t provide a sustainable result. Jesus said in Luke 12:51 “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” I’m not a Calvinist, but I am when it comes to human nature. I’m totally on board with the concept of total depravity. Jeremiah 17:9 says that our hearts are totally messed up, why would you want to follow it? “Be the best you that you can be!” Well my heart is sinful so being the best me that I can be will still fall short of God’s standard. Without Jesus I’m in trouble, even if I’m a really nice person. I read through the gospels recently and I didn’t see Jesus being a motivational up beat person. He was loving, humble, and a servant. But He also got people to essentially shove it when they were being idiots ( Luke 20:8; John 8:7), and called people on sin they weren’t repenting of (John 4:18). He went into the temple and started flipping tables and dumping the money-changers bags of cash on the ground (John 2:15) none of that sounds like He was about being a happy peacemaker that was a motivational speaker. What I gather from the gospels is that Jesus is joyful, a propitiation for humanity, and motivating people to turn and love him because He knows they’re screwed if they don’t. I don’t think Jesus was completely fire and brim stone like Westboro, but He wasn’t afraid of offending people because He loved them enough to tell them the whole truth. The gospel is a little offensive. Telling someone they fail God’s standards and can’t do anything about it on their own is not a warm cozy message, the cozy part is that we don’t have to do it on our own. Justification through faith by grace. I may be going out on a limb, but I think part of the reason Jesus served people so lovingly and graciously is because He wanted to get down in the mud where He would be able to communicate an offensive message better, instead of standing over them and condemning them. I believe every Christian is called to the same task, whether you’re a pastor, a parent, a teacher, a construction worker or a businessman. We should forfeit the world’s mentality of  “be happy and live positive” and instead pick up Christ’s mentality of getting down to serve others as we communicate a mildly offensive truth that is the only ray of hope in a crooked, sinful, tolerant, morally relative world.

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