Cause & Effect. Choice

Your life is 10% what happens TO you and 90% your response to it. 10% Cause, 90% Effect.

The longer I live the more I think this is true. Don’t pick the numbers apart and be like “I’m more of a 12% / 88% split…”, just get what it is I’m saying..

My dad lost his youngest sister Connie a few days ago and we are reminded vividly that there are things that happen to us that we have no control over. 10% of things maybe. Death, sickness, disease, the stock market crashing, the economy tanking, the weather, the home you grew up in, abuse, pain, suffering. These things often make us feel out of control; they remind us of something we know in our gut, that life isn’t always fair.

I’ll be honest when I say that not understanding this one thing will affect your entire life. You know people who had a poor 10% and let it snatch away the rest of their lives. You also know people with worse stories that made it and seem at peace with things. If a bad 10% decides the rest of our lives what hope do we have?

The Canadian sickness of course is looking at the 90% we actually have control over and wasting it in the premise that our lives are all about ourselves, or excusing our responsibility to heal and become useful because of the home we grew up in etc. “You don’t understand my 10%!!”

That is true. I don’t. You also don’t understand mine. But let’s be honest, it’s only 10% and that should give us a great deal of hope!

Your 90% is where you decide whether or not you’re going to share the same addictions your mom had when you were a kid, or whether or not you will continue the abuse you suffered. Too serious? Ok, let’s talk about your spending; your credit card debt. Off limits? “But I couldn’t keep my word with my finances because my car broke down!”. Right, because there are cars that don’t break down? The particular car we probably couldn’t afford in the first place? If we couldn’t laugh about ourselves we’d probably cry…

Here’s where I take some time to convince you to take responsibility for the 90% and quit passing the buck, so to speak.. A favourite saying of mine is: “If it’s not a problem it won’t get fixed”.
Real conversation a friend of mine had with a guy in his church whose son was not exactly living for Jesus: “How’s your son doing?”
“FINE!!”
Possible honest response: “Um, ok… I guess I should stop praying for God to change his heart?”
Actual response: “Um, ok…Let me know if I can help?”

Eve in the garden (in the Bible if you’re not familiar with the story) had a 10/90 split happening. Where on earth did the serpent come from? He was evil and clever and that’s always a bad source to listen to. If Eve was Canadian she would have said “There’s no harm listening! It’s just information!”, but the end result should dispel the premise that listening to clever snakes is clever in any way. Pride opens our ears to venom. Pride says “They might fool them, but never me!”. Getting bitten by a snake is always painful no matter how clever he is.

IE: if you date that guy, don’t be surprised when nothing good happens and he hurts you. Your friends tried to warn you but you’re so much smarter than they are. You’ll be able to change him I’m sure…

Regardless, Eve’s serpent was her 10%. Meaning he was evil and clever and in the garden. She had no control over these things. She had complete control over whether she had a conversation with a snake or whether she did what you should do to snakes: find something to smash them with! (I hate snakes. There is no human reason to like snakes or own snakes or feed snakes or be nice to snakes. Just sayin…)

Eve decided to listen. She decided to listen to the serpent twist the truth (“Did God say…?”). She decided to add to God’s words (“…nor touch it…lest we die”). She decided to eat the fruit. She decided in her 90% to give some to Adam too. Misery loves company.

So follow the trail: Eve’s 10% is what it is, but she takes her 90% and does something really stupid. Eve’s 90% becomes Adam’s 10% (If your naked wife offered you something to eat what would you do?). Adam and Eve’s 90% becomes the rest of humanity’s 10%.

Adam and Eve’s 90% also became God’s 10%. He gave them free choice and that always means that evil is an option. “How can a loving God allow evil in the world?” comes down to one word: CHOICE. It can cut both ways. People sometimes view God as some arbitrary Guy-in-the-Sky who makes bad people rich and squashes good poor people. God is not arbitrary, HE IS PRINCIPLED. Choice is a principle that was a building block for humans and will never be taken away by a loving God. He can’t actually because we wouldn’t be humans anymore, we’d be animals.

Today I spoke for a few minutes in the Remembrance Day service in our town. Today we remember those in our amazing country who used their 90% to look their 10% in the eye and say “No more!”. They stood in front of the innocents and the victims and said to the oppressor “If you would ride over them you must ride over us first!”. They imperfectly conquered great fear and gave greatly, which is one of the only ways to measure love. Their 10% was unfair and undeserved but they defined themselves with their 90%.

It wasn’t fair to God that this ignorant creation’s 90% became His 10%, but He eats the same food He’s selling. Choice cuts both ways (and not choice cuts of meat). But with His 90% He took on our problem, and this is where it gets exciting for us…

After eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve were forcibly removed from the garden before they could eat of the tree of life and live eternally apart from their Creator. Of course the serpent would say (and is still saying to the human race): “See! God kicked you out of Paradise! I told you he wanted to keep good things from you!” Nothing could be farther from the truth but it’s easier to believe in lies than to look in the mirror. It always has been.

Jesus was God’s 90% response.

Jesus’ 10% was worse than yours. He carried the weight of the world on His shoulders. The sin of the world. His mission could only end one way.

His 90% was exceptional. Remarkable. How on earth could He live in this world and remain the pure and spotless Lamb of God and still qualify to be sacrificed in the sight of God? He never had a lustful thought? Never said a wrong thing? Never punched His brothers growing up? (I seriously think that simply because His own brother became a follower that you should consider it too. What would it take for your brother to convince you that he was the Son of God?:)

He hung on a cross planted in the soil from which Adam came. He died a nobody and with nothing. He fulfilled the prophecy that said “cursed is anyone hung on a tree”. Cursed in the sight of God.

There was a price to pay for sin and Jesus was willing to pay it! The 10% was His cross to bear and He never shied away from any of it!

What is your cross to bear in this life? If you want to follow Christ you’d better know what it is! A North American Christian rarely gets to the place where Christians in persecuted countries start: “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.”

The cross of Jesus became the Tree of Life to those who believe. Eternity with our loving Creator! What God had in mind was finally accomplished after all these millennia! The only hiccup was the wrench we threw into it, but the great God has found a willing Redeemer in Jesus!

Will your cross become a tree of life to someone in your lifetime? Or will you spend the rest of your life complaining about how hard and unfair your cross is?

Only those who die to self are raised in the power of Almighty God!

But your cross can’t become a tree of life unless you actually get up on it….

 

Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

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