Tuesday, February 9, 2010

cool is just a state of mind.

inspiration: Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper

I'm a college student and I'm a girl.
Therefore, I want to "fit in".
"Cool" is naturally an adjective I want to be used to describe me.

But after reading a chapter entitled "Living to Prove He is More Precious Than Life", I've kind of realized that cool doesn't do justice for the type of lifestyle I want to lead. One that we're all called to lead. ESPECIALLY if we claim to love Jesus with all our hearts.

The chapter opens up with the thought that as Christians, we need to be especially aware of how we live in regard to our possessions and our money!

"The issue of money and lifestyle is not a side issue in the Bible. The credibility of Christ in the world hangs on it." (p. 109)

"If we want to make people glad in God [in short, to spread the gospel!], our lives must look as if God, not possessions, is our joy." (p. 111) (brackets and emphasis added by me).

These are definitely heavy issues that shape our lives and our walk as Christians. We want to walk in the light and we desire to bring God's glory to the forefront of our lives, but it's definitely a hard path to walk when the world is battering us with "Buy me!" and "You need me to be happy!" and "Money = Happiness" messages. Especially in "College World" (as Kyle Dunn from my Passion group would say), keeping a steady and straight path directed toward the heart of God is tough. You not only have school and studies to worry about, but also jobs, church, and relationships to balance on top of that. I have rent, bills, a car, and food expenses. But add the fact that I yearn to be "cool" on top of all that, and it's basically a thin wire I'm trying to balance on.

In this same chapter, John Piper delves into some WWII history, Iwo Jima in particular. He illustrates several examples of people who sacrificed themselves in order for a bigger cause. They weren't trying to gain the status of "cool guy", they were putting themselves in danger in order to serve our country.

Outside a cemetery in honor of lives lost at Iwo Jima, this is chiseled:

When you go home
Tell them for us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today

I teared up reading that and some of the other stories, because isn't this a life we're supposed to live for Christ? Aren't we called to die to ourselves in order to gain Him? Aren't we called to take up our cross and follow Him? We're never promised an easy life. We're called to suffer for the sake of Christ.

I had a hard time reading this chapter because I know that I tend to treasure my earthly things and money more than Christ. I desire worldly acceptance. I desire to be accepted. I want to be loved. I want to be wanted. I want to be cool.

This quote really put it into perspective for me:

"Of course, we do not use the word cool to describe true greatness. It is a small word. That's the point. It's cheap. And it's what millions of young people live for." (p 128).

I'm one of those people. I strive for "coolness"; I long for acceptance; I want to be wanted.

I always think "If only I had (fill in the blank), then I would be so much happier and it would make me want to be closer to God". But that's completely the wrong perspective to have and definitely in the wrong order.

Once we get our priorities straight, we will put God first. We will live a life that isn't wasted because it will be about bringing glory to God and finding our happiness in God. And we certainly won't worry about being "cool" by the world's standards, because we will have a treasure in Heaven that is far greater than whatever "cool" can get us down here.

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