From Pastor Brady:
Recently Joy and I went to Ireland. It was pretty much amazing. My kids organized the trip as a 25th anniversary present and many people from church and extended family chipped in. Thank you.
Besides driving on the left/wrong side of the road, the most difficult part of the trip was fighting the feeling and expectation that we had to “do it all.” This is a once in a lifetime trip, so we can’t blow it. People will ask us “Did you go to Giant’s Causeway?” “Did you do the Cliffs of Mohr?” “Did you drive the Ring of Kerry?”
If we’re in Ireland don’t we HAVE to do the best things in Ireland? We can’t settle for inferior sights and sounds can we? Don’t we deserve the best? Aren’t we expected to find the best? Joy and I still joke about our first jet-lagged day in Ireland and how we didn’t eat the right food. We settled for pizza because we were so hungry.
Is it fair to say that this is the mindset that we live with every day? Apps like Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Rotten Tomatoes tell us what is best, and forbid us from settling for anything less. The problem is that this kind of expectation is paralyzing. You can spend hours researching everything in the quest for the best.
Modern dating and romance has told us that we need to find our Soul Mate. This perfect person who will meet all my needs and desires. As Dr. Esther Perel said in one of her TED talks:
“Marriage was [once] an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition, I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village [or you could insert GOD here] used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise.”
We have made marriage more about self- fulfillment than self- sacrifice. Why? Because just like with trips to Ireland and apps that tell me what restaurant to eat at, we are all looking for a functional savior. That thing or person that meets all my expectations.
In my Sunday morning 22 group a couple weeks ago, one of the group members brought up entitlement. He saw entitlement as the source of his own selfish behaviors and sin. He is right. Entitlement turns blessings into expectations.
The Law will do this. The Law of love is maybe the most wonderful and potentially devastating law God has given us. If it is not met head on by the Gospel, it will destroy. The law of love says that you must love others perfectly and also that they must love you perfectly. Without the Gospel, the result is that everyone else around you becomes your functional savior. Why? Because they owe you love. They are supposed to love you perfectly. Because you deserve the best. The best trip. The best food, the best movie. The best soul mate. I’m entitled to love and perfect love at that.
Grace satisfies the law of love by saying that you are already perfectly loved, even though you don’t deserve it and are not entitled to it. Because of this, God did not invest a little bit of love into you in hopes that you could make it grow over time. He poured out the entire love bank on the cross. He gave all He had for you in one moment in time. You have all the love of God that you are ever going to get.
So what is our functional savior now? Well, it’s not a great trip to Ireland that somehow I have to make even better by making sure I do all the “right things.” And it’s not eating at the best ice cream shops and renting the best movies. And it’s not even someone who is supposed to be my soul mate.
My functional savior is my true Savior- Jesus. The God-Man who has given me everything he’s got. So that I will never have to go searching again wondering if I’ve gotten the best this world has to offer.