I went into Birmingham today to get a few things sorted before I go back, go to the bank etc. Now, I'm not really a shopper but I somehow ended up in a Japanese store called Muji.
It's a pretty cool store, very minimalist in a Japanese way that reminds me of Lost in Translation (favourite movie) and puts an emphasis on recycling and avoiding waste in production and packaging. They sell quirky edgy things like cardboard speakers and "New York in a bag" so you can take NY with you wherever you go. I'm a chump for stuff like that and all of that stuff is cool but it is was the simplistic Japanese vibe that pulled me in and moved me to spend £50 on some new shirts. I don't usually buy clothes but I liked what I saw, I had some spare money and thought "yeah, why not". But since getting home (and if I'm honest, ever since I left the store) something just hasn't sat right with me about my purchases. I've been trying to deconstruction this feeling all evening and I think the bottom line is that I am feeling slightly guilty about having splashed out because at the end of the day, I can live without these things. Now, my money is not my own, it is God's and He has given me sovereignty over it to use and spend how I choose, so is buying clothes wrong? (even if we don't really need them?), no, of course not, it's fine. If you've been blessed, enjoy it and thank God for it. So if I am feeling guilty then that can't be from God, so what is the feeling? I think 'living without' might be a personal challenge to me at the moment, and particularly with clothes to just be much less concerned about what I wear; outward appearance, aesthetics, looking good and good looking clothes are a common grace that Christians and non-Christians alike share, but the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us is part of the amazing free gift of Salvation that we as Christians receive and ultimately, it is dangerously attractive. For a while, I think, I want to try and concentrate on that aspect.
So, am I going to having a deep theological debate with myself every time I buy something? Nope. But on this occasion I just feel a real unease about buying; so the stuff will all go back Birmingham tomorrow morning.
So what else about today?
I've been caining through that book by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft today; been learning so much, half an hour my head was so full of all this amazing information that I had just read and I wanted to pour it all out into my blog but I just can't remember it all now lol. But here is the small part that I do remember that really stuck out to me as I read it. Most of it I already knew but it was amazing to read it in a fresh new way and to have old truths re-realised in my heart again:
The Old and the New Testament are both covenants; the Old Testament is a covenant between God and His chosen people, but His people just couldn't keep the covenant and God perused them endlessly and they just kept messing up - after reading through the stories of how God's people turned their backs on Him continually then the so often asked question of "why did God so angry" changes very quickly to "why did God not get more angry". The Old Testament is just full of imagery that likens God's relationship with His people to that of a marriage and the people who are in this marriage covenant with God continuously commit adultery to the point where any person would be understood completely for walking out on them, but God never did. Eventually God made a new covenant, Jesus. But this time the covenant is not with us at all, the covenant is with Jesus - so God (fully one but also three person - the triune God) make a covenant with Jesus (God with himself) that will atone for the sins of the people so that they no longer have to keep the laws. Now since our God is a covenant keeping God and He is making a covenant with Himself (Jesus) we know for certain that this covenant will not be broken. So what we have in effect is a will; on the death of Jesus the will is read and we find that we inherit...EVERYTHING! Our salvation is no longer contingent on what we do but on what He did! This means that we do live in freedom: "I messed up today, I must have fallen out of favour with God" and "I had an extra long quiet time today, I am back in God's good books" are both illusions; we are saved and there is nothing that we can do to change that because He has done it. It is finished.