It was a busy weekend. I was not scheduled to work at the church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but my colleague had a family emergency so I filled in for both events. It turned out to be wonderfully mad teacup ride. I felt the elation of deep connection with my King, but my temper was short with my children, my ADD was flaring with my wife, my thoughts were a jumble, my heart was not right with the Lord of Lords. I served God with my hands and my talents AND I was sinning in all my old worn pathways, all through the weekend and up to this morning until I finally repented on the way to work.
I need God’s grace every hour. It doesn’t matter how much I serve in the church or how nice I look in my charcoal-gray suit; my heart is deceitful above all things and I am truly a wretch saved only by the blood of Jesus. Yes it’s true I sin less, but I am by no means sinless.
On Thursday night I went to a birthday party at a neighbor’s house, and our unsaved friends said to my wife “I thought you were a good Christian girl?!” when she said something that surprised them about our home life. I thought of the perfect reply…one day later.
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” – Mark 10:18
On the country radio station’s current hits playlist are several songs that work to undo the message of the cross; including Compass by Lady Antebellum:
You wanna give up ’cause it’s dark
We’re really not that far apart
So let your heart, sweet heart
Be your compass when you’re lost
And you should follow it wherever it may go
When it’s all said and done
You can walk instead of run
‘Cause no matter what you’ll never be alone
God’s desire for us is the opposite; Listen to Jeremiah chapter 17 — I put my commentary in brackets.
5 Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind [when it gets dark]
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord [when he’s lost].
7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust [compass] is the Lord.
9 The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick [not sweet];
Who can understand it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.”
The other parallel popular song on the radio is Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves; she gets right to the point in the second verse:
If you don’t go to church you’ll go to hell
If you’re the first one on the front row
You’re a self-righteous Son of a-
Can’t win for losing, you’ll just disappoint ’em
Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em don’t mean you should join ’em
So make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into
When the straight and narrow gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don’t
Just follow your arrow wherever it points, yeah
Follow your arrow wherever it points
I understand Kacey’s resentment when she sees hypocrisy in church. I see my own judging attitudes, especially when I live the double life in the pew or up in the media booth, sinning in secret and compromising my testimony.
So Kacey argues that instead I should follow my arrow wherever it points. The undeniable truth however is that my compass arrow swerves unceremoniously at every magnet that’s dangled in front of me. So instead of following a magnetic north, I strive to find Polaris, the star that never changes and leads me back to true north.
Every Easter Sunday for the past few years, the church plays a multimedia video that is an excerpt from a sermon by S. M. Lockridge, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego from 1952 to 1993. Lockridge’s description of Jesus Christ, known as “That’s my King!” for Lockridge’s repeated refrain, is powerful enough to snatch my compass away from the deceitful magnet of my sinful heart. I want to memorize it to help me in my weakness.
Here’s the text in the version we play on Easter Sunday:
The Bible says my King
Is the King of the Jews
He’s the King of Israel
He’s the King of Righteousness
He’s the King of the Ages
He’s the King of Heaven
He’s the King of Glory
He’s the King of Kings
and He’s the Lord of Lords
That’s my King!
I wonder do you know Him?
My King is a Sovereign King
No means of measure can define His limitless love
He’s enduringly strong
He’s entirely sincere
He’s eternally steadfast
He’s immortally graceful
He’s imperially powerful
He’s impartially merciful
Do you know Him?
He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world
He’s God’s Son
He’s a sinners’ Saviour
He’s the centerpiece of civilization
He’s the loftiest idea in literature
He’s the highest personality in philosophy
He’s the fundamental doctrine in true theology
He’s the only One qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior
I wonder, if you know Him today?
He supplies strength for the weak
He’s available for the tempted and the tried
He sympathizes and He saves
He strengthens and sustains
He guards and He guides
He heals the sick
He cleansed the lepers
He forgives sinners
He discharges debtors
He delivers the captive
He defends the feeble
He blesses the young
He serves the unfortunate
He regards the aged
He rewards the diligent
And He beautifies the meager
I wonder if you know Him?
He’s the key to knowledge
He’s the wellspring of wisdom
He’s the doorway of deliverance
He’s the pathway of peace
He’s the roadway of righteousness
He’s the highway of holiness
He’s the gateway of glory
Do you know Him?
Well, His life is matchless
His goodness is limitless
His mercy is everlasting
His love never changes
His word is enough
His grace is sufficient
His reign is righteous
And His yoke is easy
and His burden is light
I wish I could describe Him to you
Yes, He’s indescribable
You can’t get Him out of your mind
You can’t– you can’t get Him off of your hand
You can’t outlive Him
And you can’t live without Him
Well, The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him
but they found out they couldn’t stop Him
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him
Herod couldn’t kill Him
Death couldn’t handle Him
And the grave couldn’t hold Him
Yea! That’s my King!
That’s my King!