I'm not using His name in vain. Let's thank Him. Really.
But just one thing: in my profile, where it says 'semi-newlywed' does it sound like I'm saying I'm semi-newly or semi-wed?
Just to clear up any confusion: I'm fully, totally, completely, covenantally, happily wed.
Speaking of thanking God, I'm so thankful for my husband.
Yes, Mom, he's being a good husband. He even spoils me sometimes--like yesterday when he surprised me with a brand-new cell phone (So what if I've been asking for a new one for a year now? Yesterday, I was surprised). Or last night when he cuddled me (so what if I asked him to?). Or this morning when he was a good sport and went to try on his tuxedo (so what if I nagged him about it for 15 minutes last night? Don't you want to be a good brother, Daniel? This is Josh's WEDDING!).
He really, really loves me. And I appreciate that.
Oh, and I love him too.
I'm also thankful for my friends. Sometimes they make me crazy and I'm not as thankful as I should be (yes, I'm talkin' bout ALL OF YOU CRAZIES). But when I really think on it, when I truly reflect, I realize what an amazing blessing it is to have friends. And what an honor it is to be loved by others, despite the fact that you are a middle-child, have a messy closet, and think you're better than everyone (I jest, I jest!).
I got me some good friends.
Speaking of friends, Janean (my future sister-in-law and current friend) called me yesterday and asked me to be a member of her house party. I was wondering when those kids were going to realize they needed to class-up the gig and call me. So the phone call wasn't a total surprise. I know what I am to these people: Eye Candy. And I even get a corsage.
Therefore, if you're invited to this very exclusive wedding, you'll have the pleasure of taking a program out of the hands of Yours Truly. And when you open you're program you'll even have the privelege of finding my name in there. Somewhere.
It will be the only name listed under the title "The Person Who Makes Us All Look Good."
One of these days I'll have to give you guys a talk about my twisted sense of humor and my psychological need to use false pride and act like a bee-yatch in order to feel normal and balanced. But that will have to wait for another day.
In the meantime, let's get serious.
I was talking to one of my friends (we'll call him Peter--even though that's not his name) about Christianity the other day. Peter was upset. He's had it rough over the past few years, and right now he's struggling with the hypocracy of some Christians in the church.
He told me, "At least I'm being honest. I'm not pretending to be something I'm not. I mean, if I died tonight I know I'd go to heaven. But I don't think I can give my life to Christ right now, so I'm not going to pretend I'm following him."
I've been thinking and praying about this a lot lately. I can certainly understand the temptation to feel bitter towards Christians who talk the talk and don't walk the walk. And I think he's probably basing his decision not to actively follow Christ on the Scripture that tells us not to be lukewarm. He sees following Christ as too great a committment, and therefore feels more righteous (for lack of a better word...) by not pretending he can.
But is that a saving faith? The Scriptures tell us that the fruit we bear testifies the work of the Holy Spirit. And if that's true, isn't this friend of mine in the same boat with those hypocrites that he can't stand? Well, if he believes he's going to Heaven he's obviously not relying on his own works and merit for salvation. But shouldn't that surrender be evident in a life of faith?
Evident in the fact that we rely wholly on Christ's death and resurrection both for our justification and (this is an important 'and') our sanctification.
Peter is right, in a way. It is true that Peter does not have the ability in himself to follow Christ.
While we may find our sin overwhelming, the work that is done within us is not our own. Our sin does not, cannot overwhelm the Lord Jesus Christ! He suffered and was buried and rose on the third day, and now, through him, we are more than conquerors.
I encouraged Peter to pray and to continue seeking the Lord (Mom, I even used your 'cleaning the inside of the cup' analogy). He told me he just doesn't know how to pray and he doesn't know how to seek. And I told him to take up and read the Word.
I'm no authority on spiritual things, and I'm very aware that when I try to talk about spiritual things it is at once clear my understanding is small and weak. But I hope and pray that God will use His words, through me, to speak to this fellow.
I want to ask you, though, my beloved readers. Is what my friend described "enough"? Is it salvation to claim the name of Christ yet live a life apart from him?