Why is it that we find ourselves comparing experiences with one another? For example, you had shoulder surgery and I had brain surgery. You've failed twice and I've failed seven. You find it hard to listen and I find it hard to talk... Do you catch my drift?
I don't want to compare my story versus yours. I don't want to rank personal testimonies 1-10, 10 being outrageously radical to 1 being raised a Christian- boring. Not only do I think it may be a rather waste of time comparing our scars and bruises, more importantly we need to understand that we all have the same story, the same upbringing and the same future. (see 2 Tim 2)
I suppose a quick disclaimer should be mentioned here. Like many of you, I have struggled with countless things (which can be named if you really want to know- there is no shame there) but I think the difference lies in our associations with those things. I want to make it clear that I do not, nor ever will associate myself with my flesh, and I don't think you should either. Arrogant, I know... But Jesus called it righteousness.
Onward. My motivation for this today is one of my favorite passages from Philippians chapter 3 versus 3-16. I love the way Paul speaks right to the heart of men, skipping past the layers we've built to protect ourselves and showing us Christ over and over again.
Do you want to sit and compare stories with Paul on your life's missions? He will gladly do that, and does. Oh, you are a Hebrew? Well I was circumcised on the eighth day of the Tribe of Benjamin- a Hebrew of Hebrews concerning the law. Oh you are passionate? I was a Pharisee- You pursue righteousness? I persecuted the Church upon righteousness found in the law- Does this sound like our minds sometimes when we hear each other speak?
I know if that were me writing this letter, I would have listed those things in spite. Not exactly sure of that's where Paul came from. But here's the kicker... Paul counts that all loss. All this gain- gain in social standing, gain in finances, gain in self-righteousness and confidence- is all but a loss in order to gain Christ and be found in Him. He places no confidence in himself- but all confidence in the power of the resurrection of Christ. Wow. Where is your confidence? Where is mine?
Keep reading this passage and you will find that Paul struggles just as we do, by saying he has by no means come into completion. But he gives us a charge to press on, leaving all that is behind us- forgetting what has passed and reach for that which is in front of us- the high calling of being in Christ Jesus. Let us live in the mindset of having already attained these things, and may we all do it together.
So the next time you want to compare your experiences and why you think this way while I think that way, can we come to an agreement on something? There is only one way we should be thinking and that is of the Kingdom of God- which has been made known through his son. That is our experience. That is our story. That is our life and that is our future. So please, do me a solid and quit banking on the emotions of hurt to elevate your experience of God. He is so much more than a shoulder to cry on or another notch on your bedpost.
Too harsh? Maybe. But I need to hear this just as much as the next guy.