Sunday, April 26, 2009

Johnny Cash’s Great Discovery – And Mine, Too

I feel as if I’m on the cusp of a great discovery. Something life-changing is in the works.

For several years now, I have grown increasingly aware of how much stuff I own. And how much distraction I am subject to. There is a lot going on in my life – and most of it would be deemed as good by almost anyone. And yet, I am not satisfied with where I am. And I think I finally know why.

I try to live my life in a way that is true - honoring others, and yet one which has an eternal purpose. Nearly anyone who has known me since I was small will likely attest that I have been “good” and have sought a spiritual aspect in almost everything. But deep down, I have always suspected that my life as a Christian might not be considered truly sacrificial. I think I’m finally coming to the realization that it is not.

I was reading a book the other day, when the following phrase sprung to mind. I wrote it down, and I’ll share it here – “Living the Christian life should not be considered just ‘a good thing to do’. There must be more to it than that.”

What does it mean to really, really live as a Christian? Not just a good life in comparison with 99% of the other people on the planet, but a life as Jesus Christ would live it if he were in my shoes? I am convinced that the feeling I often get of “comparative faith” – that is, one where I say, “Hey, I work harder, pray deeper, and ponder the Scriptures more than most other people” – is a comfortable lie given to me by none other than Satan himself. I can picture him laughing at my reasoning and self-justification, while all the time opportunities slip from my grasp. Those opportunities, if seized, would glorify God in ways I have never dared. And yet, I am deceived into thinking that I’m firmly on the narrow path. I give thanks for God’s grace which has placed me on that path nonetheless – but am I living my life in a way that completely honors God and achieves the very greatest purpose for His glory? I know that the answer to that question is “No”.

God has directed me to contemplate the life of Johnny Cash recently. Cash did not start out well – suffering through divorce, drug addiction, and brokenness. And yet, if the stories are true, he ended on a high note – confessing Jesus and openly admitting his devotion to God in venues where he would not have done so as a younger man. One of the most deeply moving videos I have ever seen is his version of “Hurt”, which was originally written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. But Cash made this song his own, giving it an overarching contemplation of a life that could have been better lived. I’ve posted it here. Watching the scene where he breaks down in tears at 3:13 has changed my life in some way. I want to be as broken as Cash over my own sin.

I want to live a life that fully honors God. In every minute, and in every action. I want my life to be full of meaning and purpose. I want to finish well.

No comments: