My best friend Zach and I were literally inseparable freshman year. I mean it was almost comical . My roommate and I had this video game chair in our bedroom(laugh it up, laugh it up) and Zach spent a lot of nights literally sleeping in that chair because he didn’t want to walk back to his room at night. Granted that was nights that he didn’t just shack up with me in my twin bed – yeah, we were THAT close. I think there was one point in time where we probably had 15 straight meals together or something. Everyone knew Zach and I were best friends, I mean our birthdays are 1 day a part from each other, COME ON it is destiny. So naturally, best friends move in together right? We did just that.
Our sophomore year we shared a room and to put it lightly, it created tension. It’s funny how quickly you get to know someone when you sleep right next to them. I have this tendency to just “borrow” stuff whenever I feel like it, without asking. Zach is the opposite. He asks four times before he borrows something, and when he returns it, it looks better than before. I, on the other hand, give it back to you when you ask for it three months later….Luckily Zach was patient.
All that to be said, Zach and I had a rough go around that year. We learned really fast that even the closest of relationships suffer from time to time. I had expectations, and so did he. And I constantly missed them, and he did at times as well.
A lot of the tension that was caused usually boiled down to two things for Zach and I. And now that I think of it this is pretty similar for all relationships, our sin that we inherited from Adam has ruined us!
1. Our bent is to be SELFISH consumers…
This one is obvious. For some reason I got it into my head that Zach because he was my best friend had to give me certain things, provide me with certain encouragements, and GIVE ME STUFF. I don’t know where it came from, the entitlement was absurd. All of my nature does it with other relationships as well. Why is the first thing I think about “what can they do FOR me?” And you best be certain this has trickled into my relationship with Jesus….
Insert genie bottle and give me, give me give me XYZ Jesus. Thanks I’ll go not sin now.
Scripture is really clear about about our consumer based lifestyle – it’s crippling. Proverbs 21:25-26 is black and white in its sharp warning, “the sluggard’s craving will be the death of him because his hands refuse to work. All day long he craves for MORE, but the righteous will give without sparring.” Here is why this verse is VERY crucial – it’s not just in the black and white explanation that craving more things, wanting more stuff is going to result in endless dissatisfaction. But what makes this Scripture even more compelling is because of the CONTEXT here; the story behind the words. The author of Proverbs was Solomon, and this dude knew how to party. Solomon made it his mission in life to test the world. He had everything at his fingertips, he literally tried to satisfy himself with the world. He was a rich king and bought everything you could think of, he was a Justin Timberlake type of guy and had more girls than we can imagine(literally he had 700 wives and hundreds of concubines), but he still wasn’t happy. He wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:14 “I have seen(and had) all things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” So if ANYONE is qualified to say that the entitlement and thought of I GET I GET I GET will end in anything but sorrow, it’s this dude.
We are wired and bent towards a selfish consummation of everything outside of a covenant relationship with Christ.
2. Our bent towards selfish gain tends to outweigh our understanding of reality…
So, I love Zach. I know Zach is for my good. I even knew when we shared a room that Zach was a patient guy. Zach vocalized constantly that he didn’t appreciate my flippant abusing of his things. I even desired to be better at times. But for some reason in the end when I wanted it, I took it.
Don’t really get why he stuck with me…
See there’s the point though. I already knew the truth and the reality that Zach didn’t function the way I did. I even thought consciously that I needed to change. But my appetite for MY good seemed to continue to outweigh my want for Zach or his stuff. This example is very small – but so telling as to the nature of our hearts.
There is a spot in Scripture with Peter and Jesus where we see this. In John chapter 18 Peter, who is a follower of Jesus already, denies Jesus three separate times. Oh yeah, and Jesus threw him a bone telling him he would….I mean the cards were stacked up in Peter’s favor and he still couldn’t resist his appetite to consummation of selfish gain. He didn’t want to be ostracized by society. He wanted to save face. Jesus knew he would do this. He called Peter’s bluff.
This is why I LOVE Peter. He’s my dude. All passion and zeal, “raw raw raw for Jesus,” but man when it comes to what it’s going to cost him; he’s a different guy. Bi-polar towards his savior at times. Oh man! that’s me! I read Peter’s story and see a mirror.
Don’t really get why Jesus sticks with me…
What doesn’t help is society today feeds this consumer behavior. You are your own best provider – if you want XY or Z YOU will have to be the one to get it. You are a consumer whether you like it or not. No matter how hard you fight it, you are, we are selfish consumers after the next thing that will give us “it”.
So where does the Gospel come in? Here’s what’s crazy – God from the beginning was about this concept of being a consumer. We are created in the image of God, that’s why we are consumers. God is a consumer by nature, so are we. However, we somehow found a way to dement this beautiful perfect quality into cosmic treason against our Creator. Let me explain:
Let’s take the word consummation(love that word!). The completion or finalization of something. God has promised us in Scripture that there will be a day when it is complete(Revelation 21). It being harmony between God and the world. RECONCILIATION between God and his people. But how? Through our perfect example of consuming.
Jesus is the greater consumer. This sounds weird, I get that – but follow me. We all are consumers, like God. Jesus consumes for others on HIS behalf and we consume for ourselves on God’s behalf. You see… we missed it. We flipped it on God. Think about it….
We all decided on our own will, because we just think our way is better than God’s design, to consume things, relationships and everything for ourselves! In other words, we are prideful. We sin. We are the exact opposite of Jesus. If Jesus is perfect, that opposite is IMPERFECT. We are guilty with unclean hands. But(Praise the Lord for that word), Jesus consumed all our imperfections for us on his behalf on the cross. All of the unrighteous, imperfect, selfish consuming of what we want and rebellion was consumed by Jesus and placed in his cup. That cup was heavy and full of God’s wrath that we should’ve had to drink(Luke 22:41-46). But Jesus consumed that for me.
The quicker, more theological way, to say this consuming is Imputation of Righteousness, or the Great Exchange. Jesus consumed all the wrath of God, penalty of sin for me, and handed me his perfect record, Godly image, and righteous power.
And now – the Holy Spirit has consumed us and marked us with himself. Ephesians 1:13, “having believed in the good news of the Gospel, we have been sealed with the Spirit forever.” You see! God is the perfect consumer. He took all the junk and replaced it with treasure. That’s why in Ephesians 1:14 God refers to our salvation as an inheritance!
I was a seflish consumer. Wayward, and no chance to reconcile to my creator. But that old identity was consumed and swallowed up on the cross. So now I am consumed by the Spirit, through the power of the cross, and from this day forward I consume myself with that FACT.
It’s my only hope. It’s all of our only hope.