"I believe that Jesus is calling for people to be a nobody for him — people who would forsake the “American dream” to be a part of bringing gospel hope to the nations. People who don’t mind if they are not recognized, respected, praised, or promoted — as long as the name of Jesus is cherished, exalted, and adored. People who understand that Jesus didn’t come to this world and die on a cross so that we could have a comfortable suburban life and enjoy going to our local church's corporate gathering on Sundays."
These words come from Michael Oh via his post on John Piper's Desiring God blog. You can read the post in its entirety here.
I felt sharp conviction upon reading this. I've had 21 years now to craft my idea of the "American Dream." The desire to attain and possess is a giant part of my sin nature...In high school I would lie in bed at night writing 100-point lists on "How to Create a Lovely Life." Even when Jesus came became central in my life, seeking after Him ran parallel to seeking after this perfect life. I never really considered another lifestyle. I was an intelligent, college-bound Christian...what could possibly stand between me and moderate wealth? I was certain that both Jesus and a BMW was in my future.
Later in his post Oh says, "We must realize that we have absolutely no right to tell God, 'I’ll do this for you, but not that.' We must understand how globally worthy he is to be loved and adored, how incredibly hard the task of making him known is, and how great are the sacrifices needed to see that happen."
Sure God, I'll go all out for you. As long as I can continue to craft my life as I see fit.
I'll live in New Orleans, God, if that's what you want for me. I'll give you that much I guess. But in a pretty area of the city, and not only a pretty area but I want my house to be pretty, too. Preferably new made to look old. Gated communities and subdivisions are your options, God. I will also requre a fancy DSLR to take beautiful pictures of my perfect life. Oh and I would also like to be skinny and fit and two inches taller. And kind of a hipster, but also ridiculously glamourous. Please one, just ONE pair of Louboutins? Also everything Olivia Palermo wears? Which reminds me that I NEED a walk-in closet with a chandelier. Are you writing this down God? Santa Claus Jesus, are you there?
And see...it's funny. And it sounds lighthearted and playful. But my heart can attest that it's true.
How utterly ridiculous is all this?
Who am I to say to God: "Here is what I will do for you. That should be enough. Don't ask me for more, please. Ok thanks bye."
Who am I to say to Him who created me, gives me my every breath, and charted all my days: "I know better for my life than you do."
Who am I, a nobody, marred by sin, to say to the One who calls me his precious daughter: "I need other beauty, other luxury, other loveliness before my eyes. You are not enough to satisfy my desire for perfection."
This longing for perfection is insatiable outside of letting God be its answer. He defines and embodies perfection! And he is desperate for me to come to Him. I KNOW this.
I just need to know that I know that I know it.