My friend calls it the Surfer Bible.
I assume many Biblical Scholars and learned Theologians don’t like it. It’s a paraphrase and not a literal translation and I’m sure it’s colloquialisms offend the intellectual sensibilities of some. But sometimes, when I can’t wrap my simple mind around God’s big-ness and big ideas, I look into the Surfer Bible (aka The Message by Eugene H. Peterson) for clarity.
Here’s what I found this morning:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
A little later I read these words:
The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
I went to bed crabby last night. And I woke up crabby. Why? I think too much time on Facebook is the main culprit (although the fact that I’m trying to drop a few pounds so I don’t have to buy an entirely new wardrobe could have been a contributing factor) And not because Facebook is an evil time-waster. I think it’s because you read the extremes of lives instead of the normal. You read people’s best one-liners and see individuals wonderful photos of perfect families and fun-filled vacations and lovely homes or (if you’re super-spiritual) how amazing people are doing incredible things all for Jesus or on the flip side you read about injuries and heartache and drama. And when I’m done only reading about everyone’s extreme best and worst, I feel a bit numb and incredibly average.
Ordinary. Run of the mill. Nothing special.
We long for the extraordinary in our ordinary lives don’t we? And we use the world’s guide to measure ourselves. Even as Christians, we look at some faith’s as better than others and rate the success of lives still based on man-made guidelines. So, when I read words that my friend posted (on Facebook, by the way) about not comparing ourselves to others, it made me back up and re-evaluate and turn, once again, to the Surfer Bible. And what I found there confirmed what I heard God whisper to my heart…you are because I AM.
…The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him…