January 5: “He Is Strong”
(As Long As I Am Weak)
In case you woke up bright and early to get my thoughts on today’s devotion, I must admit I’m already a little unimpressed (bored) wth the repetition of themes in the first four days alone. But, alas, a deal is a deal and I’ll carry on – only 361 days to go, right? Let’s start with today’s verse:
Verse Of The Day: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.“ – Psalm 28:7 (NIV)
Ahh, yes – my strength, my shield. What’s not to love? Honestly, this was always one of my favorite verses as a Christian – and why wouldn’t it be? Let to its own, it’s simply a harmless praise of thanks, right? Well, the problem I have with cherry-picked verses like this is that, for some reason, even they are exploited by Christians in seemingly endless quest diminish themselves in order to make God seem… Well, let’s just ask the Gospel of John:
“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” – John 3:30 (NLT)
I must become less and less in order to be a Christian? Well… f*ck that noise! No, seriously – what kind of a horrible “all loving” god would need his own children denigrate themselves just to make him feel even “greater”? What is this wicked nonsense? That’s not how a loving father acts, that’s how an abusive father acts and I must say – if you teach your own kids to accept the same celestial exploitation, well… Jesus, now I’m angry and we haven’t even made it to the actual devotional yet.
Themes For The Day: Alright, moving on, the author wants readers to know that *everything* you experience is only because of God. If you got a good night sleep, thank God, not the Ambien. If you could taste your breakfast this morning, thank God, not the person who cooked it for you. If you can read this sentence, thank God, not your grade school reading teacher. If you can log on to JesusDaily.com… Wait just a damn second – seriously? Again with the absolutely shameless self-promotion? Aaron Tabor is cracking me up with the endless page-after-page plugs for his own brands and products. I can’t even imagine what his diet books are like!
Nevertheless, I think that today’s devotion was somehow actually meant to be a New Year’s meditation on being healthy, taking care of your body specifically because… “your body is the temple for the Lord, the sacred place where the spirit dwells.” Uhm… first of all, I’ve seen what happens when spirits dwell in bodies and it never ends well for the host. Second, is this a euphemism? Third, how many damn “temples” does this Lord need? Are we all just walking timeshare condos to Him? Of course, once you “die to yourself” enough to make room for Him, there’s probably not much furniture left to move around.
Regardless of intent, the author goes on to claim that, “Regardless of the condition of your body, the closer you grow in your relationship with God, the stronger you become.” Unless, of course, you have cancer. Then it’s clear God’s will that your body disintegrates because according to this evil little book so far, He Is In Control of everything and because He Is With Us, we are expected to “experience joy in our suffering.” I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it – this is the stuff of cults, plain and simple.
Short Secular Alternative: If anybody tells you that you must be “lesser and lesser” so they can be “greater and greater,” it’s probably time to say “Bye, Felicia!” Likewise, if somebody wants to dwell in your body… well, on the other hand, that might be fun. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! But seriously, as far as self-help books go, one that suggests that you embrace your weaknesses isn’t exactly… helpful.
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