I Outta (February Newsletter)
A week or so ago during the Forge, which is our men's group that meets every Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm, we had a good discussion about all the things we 'outta do'. O.K., so I know 'outta' is not a word, unless we are talking about those cute, furry sea and even river creatures. I love those kind of 'outtas'. No, this 'outta' is a made up phrase. It is my way of saying I Ought to... So, back to the list of 'I outtas': Read my Bible more; pray more; go to church more; control my temper better; tithe and give; serve more, and there was much more.
The good thing about having a list of 'I outtas', whether on an ink board or in your head, is it speaks of a desire to change your life in one way or another. It is also an acknowledgement that you are not doing everything you should do or could do. Both of these clearly state that you have a soft heart toward the Lord and that you want to do better.
Now, the problem with having a list of 'I Outtas' is nothing changes from 'outtas'. An outta is simply an idea. Ideas without action are just that - ideas - nothing concrete. I am so glad Jesus didn't say, 'I outta died for these people.'
None of the 'I Outtas' bring a solution to your life, only the recognition of a problem. There is a saying in the recovery movement that goes something like this, 'If you don't work it, it doesn't work.' Or you could flip it around, 'It doesn't work if you don't work it.' Either way, there is no 'work' in 'I outta', only the idea to work. Just like the recovery movement, if you don't work it out with God, then it doesn't work. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12, "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Notice Paul said, 'work out', not 'work for.' We do not work for our salvation, just as we did not work for our physical body. But we can work out our physical bodies after we receive it. We work out our salvation after we receive it. Christianity takes effort for God to be a solution for your life and not just some idea that you 'outta' do.
There is one more glaring problem with the words, 'I outta.' It has to do with the crux of a relationship. Should any healthy relationship be about 'outtas', like you have to rather than want to? How does it make God feel if we say, "Hey God, I really love you and so I outta do this or do that?' If we really loved God, I would think we'd be saying something more along the lines of, 'I wanna' do this or do that. Imagine what your spouse would think about going out to dinner with you based on the notion that you outta take them out. God said this about our 'I outtas' in Psalms 50:7, "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills." In other words, God does not need us to do anything for Him. He NEEDS nothing from any human - even the brightest and best of us. He wants us to do things because we love Him and because He knows what is best for us and what shows love to those He places with us.
When we start to do things for God because we want to, we begin to understand that we get to. This is when our relationship changes from an obligation to genuine love.