Faith

When I Wear a Bowling Jacket

September 13, 2012

I can’t decide if I’m a good decision maker.

Of course, there are things that I am extraordinarily decisive about.

Should grown men eat corn dogs? Absolutely not.

Is Time Warner Cable the worst company in the history of the world? Yes.

Is washing your hair a daily necessity? I don’t think so.

Are SPANX for men a good idea? I can’t decide.

When I struggle for direction, it is not because I don’t have the desire to make a decision, it is because all of the options seem equally matched.

It is like standing in line at Starbucks, landlocked in front of the sweet-treat display case. In this scenario, all of the options seem equally delicious. Coffee cake? Scone? Brownie? All of it.  Yes, please, but make my latte non-fat.

But then the alternative happens.  You move to California where they post the nutrition facts next to each sweet treat and ruin every single option. In fact, I start panicking because weight gain might be contagious just by standing in front of the display case too long.

Somehow, I am both desperate to do the right thing but totally ambivalent on how to do it. I want to fulfill the intended purpose for my life, but I get a case of the stress-sweats when I try to figure out exactly what that is. Is the lack of laser-certainty a symptom of immaturity? Is it a core failure? What is wrong with me that I can’t identify “the right thing?”

As I inflict some serious splinters from all of this fence-scooting, I run into this truth:

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Christ our Lord as done for us.” Romans 5:1.

I have been made right. I am transformed into rightness by faith. All of the fence jumping in the world cannot add up to the total rightness of a perfect God.  No wonder I am incapable of knowing the right thing, the fence just illuminates my need for transformation. Rightness must be outsourced.

And here it is: Jesus scooped up my failures, nailed them to the cross, and then clothed me in righteousness.

I like to imagine this righteousness-clothing to be some sort of a bowling jacket. I know most people think of it as a robe, but robes always seem to feel be ill-fitting and the cloth-belt is dangerously unreliable. I prefer a well-fitted bowling jacket with snaps.

With this bowling jacket, Jesus invited me to be on his team, he embroidered my name on the glossy lapel, and invited me to claim his perfect winning record over my life.

This is a big deal because I am a terrible bowler. I never have a strategy, I just close my eyes, throw, and hope a respectable number of pins fall down. But somehow my score is redeemed by being on a team that cannot lose. The jacket makes all the difference.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all of my earthly decisions are made perfect through faith. I wish. Actually I make really terrible decisions even while knowing Jesus. I once tried to make “veggie muffins.” They tasted as terrible as they sound.

The point is that our rightness is not wrapped up in responsible decision making. My identity is not determined by the act of correctly choosing the greener grass. My purpose, my score, is redeemed by faith in a righteous God. I think smart people call this justification.

Decisions are still stressful, but I am no longer discouraged by my own uncertainty about “the right thing.” It is this lostness that propels me to companionship with rightness. And in this companionship I find “peace with God because of what Christ our Lord as done for us.”

I freaking love that bowling jacket. I wear it all the time.

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