Friday, April 20, 2007

Sliding at the park...
Hidden Cameras

You know, there is almost no feeling that is worse than the feeling of being busted or being totally embarrassed. Did you know that if you speed through certain intersections or run certain red lights these days that you will receive a picture in the mail of you running said light? There are actually cameras perfectly placed at the traffic signals that will take a picture of you in the exact moment when you break the law… they will then send these pictures to your house with an attached traffic ticket. You can’t deny it, you can’t wriggle out of it and you can’t appeal it because cameras don’t lie. So not only do you have to pay for a red light you ran, but you also have a picture of yourself being a bad citizen. I can’t think of a much worse feeling than seeing a picture of yourself in the moment of wrongdoing. The only thing worse than this situation would be if you happened to be picking your nose at the moment of running the red light…

I grew up in church and I have heard preachers talk about the Gospel all of my life. Before I knew how to tie my shoes I knew that Jesus died on the cross to pay for all my sins and that if I believed in Him I would be totally forgiven for everything wrong I had ever done… but here’s the weird thing… I was still scared of judgment day. I was still scared of dying. I was still pretty freaked out about standing face to face with the Holy God of Israel… but why? Why would I be afraid of facing God if all my sin has been paid for?

I’ll tell you why… those same preachers who talked about my sin being forgiven told me that I should be afraid of that day… I grew up hearing that even though Jesus paid for all my sin, facing the Lord was still going to be a scary thing and that there would still be tons of things that I would feel ashamed about and guilty about when I really saw Him. On the one hand I was hearing that my sin was gone. On the other I was hearing that I still had stuff to feel ashamed about before God. On the one hand, there was now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but on the other hand, when I saw God one day, I was going to feel all condemned. On the one hand, salvation was a totally free gift of God, but on the other hand, I still had stuff to pay for. Which is it? Am I going to be judged or not? Is it free or not? And if it isn’t free, how much is this trip to heaven going to cost me?

1 Corinthians 4:5 say this,“Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts…” When I first read this, my heart hit bottom… I was like, “Great! So it really is true?! There is a hidden camera out there somewhere videotaping my whole life and book-marking all the sins and one day when everyone who has ever lived is all gathered up there together before God and His holy angels we’re just all going to watch it on the jumbo-tron?” And what’s worse is that this video not only catches all my wrong actions, but it also has a way of capturing the motives of my heart?

When I read that I wanted to give up trying… but then I noticed that there is some more to this verse! Paul says, “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” Now… did you catch that?! There is coming a day when Jesus comes back and stops the world spinning and I don’t really think we’ll be watching movies of everyone’s life, but if we did, those in Christ would only receive praise from God… not condemnation or shame, but praise. Jesus died for all our sin, guilt and shame, so when the Judge of all the earth exposes everything I’ve done in hidden darkness, it will be times I loved Him when no one was watching. It will be times I served Him in quiet. When He exposes the motives of your heart, (if you know Him) it will only be the pure and sweet motives you had.

At the end of everything when you stand before God and He exposes everything you’ve ever done, thought or said in darkness and then brings to light the motives of your heart, it will be only good stuff. All the bad stuff is gone as if it never happened… and that’s why it’s called good news.

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