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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The Radical Flaw...


A Christian man, on his way home from work one night determines to do something nice for his family. He picks out a nice family movie to watch from the movie store, and orders pizza on his cell phone, so that just after he arrives home the pizza should come.

He pictures the evening in his mind, his children happy about the pizza, his wife about the family movie, and the loving thoughts that went into it. His heart is full of love as he unlocks the door and enters the empty house.

He gets out of his working clothes and wonders where everyone is. Perhaps there is a note somewhere? He looks about and finds nothing, and before he has an opportunity to worry, the pizza arrives.

He pays the fellow at the door, and takes the hot pizza into the living room, and sets up all the TV tables and gets out all the cutlery and whatnot - and in his mind he changes gears a bit - this could work to his advantage - the family being out at the moment, this turns the treat into a "great surprise" for when they walk in...

But they don't walk in. The pizza grows cold as the hours roll on, and something changes in his heart. The joy of providing a wonderful treat and surprise is replaced by anger. Why aren't they home? He remembers every time his wife has ever "forgotten" to mention that she would be taking the kids out somewhere, and his countenance does indeed change. Anger begins to creep in, and with each glance at the clock it builds.

When the wife and children come home, they find that dear old loving dad has become a seething volcano waiting for the opportunity to go "krakatoa." The cold pizza, the elaborate TV trays all set up around the movie and whatnot - these become the weapons he uses to make his wife feel absolutely miserable for "forgetting" to call.

Can this be the same person who only hours ago had a heart filled with love and a desire to do something good for his family?

Yes and no.

Some might see here the difference between the spiritual and the carnal - they see his original good deed as something spiritual - "born of God", a nicety that couldn't come from the flesh; and they consequently see the anger and poor behavior as coming from the flesh and therefore being reprehensible.

The reality is however, that both attitudes come from the flesh.

From the flesh came the original nice thought, and from the flesh came the anger. This is betrayed when he uses the cold pizza and prepared movie as a means to make his wife feel miserable for not calling. He is angry because things didn't go his way, and now he wants pity - nay, he feels he deserves pity, and that justice can only be served in proportion to how perfectly miserable they feel for not having shown up to partake of his generous heart. Can you not see his motive? He truly believes that he deserve to be treated according to the dictates of his own heart, and feels justified in doing so.

His "good deed" was never really a good deed, because what he was doing all along was "purchasing" a desired response from his wife and children by doing a deed that he felt warranted a particular reaction - a reaction that would gratify --him--. The ultimate reason he does anything - a seemingly good deed, or the anger that comes when it falls apart - both are driven by the same desire to be satisfied. He feels he has a right to their charitable reaction to his "good" deed, just as he feels he has a right to their misery when it falls apart. It is all about him, and always was.

We see in this, I hope, the radical flaw in thinking that we have some good in us. The reality is everything that we we imagine is "good" is actually, deep down, motivated by our desire to be treated in a certain way. We love our wives (or husbands) when doing so produces a desired effect. If my wife is clearly in the wrong, I feel I deserve an apology, and I am justified in being cold towards her until I get one.

In every other religion in the world people do good deeds externally - that is - whatever moral code they live up to, they do so ultimately in order to benefit themselves. Not that they understand this, but this is how really it is.

In Christianity, we have this too - but only amongst those who don't live in the Spirit. Carnal Christians run about trying to do good just as spiritual Christians do, and from the casual observer both may look the same, but ultimately the good that is done in the strength of the flesh is entirely for the benefit of that flesh (that which is born of the flesh is flesh).

Unless a thing is done with the mind set firmly on the things of the Spirit (done out of a love of God, and only and entirely out of a love of God) it is selfish and worthless.

posted by Daniel @ 7:24 AM  
10 Comments:
  • At 8:51 AM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Ouch! You don't have to pick on me so hard everytime. :)

    Eliciting a response to our good deeds is an all too common trait unfortunately. Children are especially sensitive to the motives behind giving. They can tell whether the giver truly loves them or is just trying to buy their favour.

    Excellent post Daniel, thanks for probing the depths of our rotten core again.

     
  • At 12:22 PM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    Keep 'em comin', Daniel.
    It's sinking in.
    Convicting in my Bible time this a.m. was John 6:63a (what a great chapter!): "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing..."
    The latter part of that is ringing in my ears.
    "The flesh profits nothing."
    Not one thing.
    Sure puts things into perspective. At least for me.

     
  • At 12:25 PM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Gordon Cloud said…

    Outstanding post, Daniel. This required a lot of thought. There is none that doeth righteous, no not one.

    This is one of the best illustrations of that truth that I have heard. If you don't mind, I may borrow this sometime.

     
  • At 2:04 PM, March 01, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    feel free Gordon. I am sure it has been used before. =)

     
  • At 6:03 PM, March 01, 2006, Blogger ThirstyDavid said…

    Have you been talking to my wife? This is getting way too personal. Good deeds from selfish motives come so naturally.

     
  • At 7:53 PM, March 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Excellent example. Non-christians do nice things too - nice doesn't mean 'Christlike'. It's what comes out of us when life is hard or disappointing that is a better measure of the 'fruit of the Spirit' - the nature of Christ - in us.
    Rom 7:18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing....
    A good look at my flesh drives me to my knees every time.
    Eunice

     
  • At 8:15 AM, March 02, 2006, Blogger centuri0n said…

    Here I thought you had fallen off the face of the earth, and what you were really doing was buying pizza and a movie for us.

    Have you been busy? I haven't seen you around the blogosphere lately, so I dorpped by to make sure you didn't fall off the apple cart ...

     
  • At 9:14 AM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Still alive, busy, but alive.

     
  • At 1:48 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Daniel, this is good. The more we realize that we are not "nice" (understatement) the more we appreciate the Savior.

     
  • At 12:41 AM, March 15, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    This has really helped people at my church, thanks, and God bless.

    Even so....

     
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