I've been following the 'Bible in a Year' daily passages over the past few days and have reached the story of Noah. One verse stuck out- 'Noah did everything as God commanded'. It led me to think about some things that have been going around in my mind over the last few days.
It started when I was listening to my dad preach at his church on Sunday.
Dad and I love a good debate.
Some of the things he said on Sunday I respectfully disagreed with but some things were very powerful and remain with me. He was challenging his church family about living in full obedience to Jesus Christ.
He asked the question, 'Are you living your life in partial obedience to God?'
Noah didn't live in partial obedience. He didn't decide to have a pick 'n' mix session with God where God gives His wise and loving instructions and Noah replies like Andy from Little Britain with 'I want that one....I don't want that one!'
He was in complete obedience. He had every reason to cut corners, doubt God and do his own thing.
But he didn't. He was a man of courageous faith in and total obedience to God.
I guess sometimes as a Christian I justify my living, my decisions etc. by making a little list. 'I obeyed in these big areas so it's ok that I cut myself some slack in this area, especially because no one will notice these ones. I'm being pretty obedient to God overall'. And so on.
The devil loves Christians who only partially follow their leader because we become vulnerable, weak and insecure.
We never live the full life Jesus' promises.
We never reach our full potential- in fact worse than that, we make the same mistakes,
going round the same circles, tripping up over and over again.
Did you know that the children of Israel took 40 years to get to the Promised Land when it should have taken only 3 weeks roughly? God had taken them out of Egypt; out of slavery. He had a land promised to them and yet most of them never saw it.
What are you and I missing out on because of partial obedience?
Partial obedience will lead to paralyzed existence.
We miss out on blessings, stress ourselves out, damage relationships and become quite inactive and immobile in our faith and work.
It's like we are tasered over and over again.
The taser gun that police are increasingly using doesn't generally kill anyone (though there have been a few) but it holds them back, trips them up, keeps them down, slows their progress, dis-ables them.
Is that how our Christian lives are at times? Living in partial obedience tasers us? Are we paralysed by making the same mistakes or allowing the enemy to trip us up again and again all because we don't 'trust' and 'obey'.
I love reading books on the emerging church, and post-Christian living etc. but when it comes down to it, my generation of Christians (of which I SO include myself) could do with a little bit more of the 'old time religion' simplicity.
Following Jesus was about trusting and obeying. Seeking, listening, hearing, trusting...and obeying.
How many of us know the experience of living in full obedience to God? How many of us believe it's possible? How many of us have the scars from not listening to God and following his ways?
How many of us know what it's like to be tasered?
Just some random musings on this January day.
Go Noah! The man who did EVERYTHING as God commanded.
Monday, 5 January 2009
I don't know about you but I'm quite hopeful about this year. Usually I start off January feeling a bit grotty but I'm quite excited about all the possibilities another year can bring.
I'm a planner, so one thing that's helped is that I've put dates in my diary. I'm attending the S.A.'s first ever UK youth worker conference in February, at Easter we hope to bring some of our youth to Ireland, we're working on a new school musical for our local primary school, Andrea and I are off to Andrea's cousin's wedding in Italy in May....the list goes on.
Lots of things to look forward to.
I'm not good at resolutions but I do have a few things I want to work on this year.
- Being a better husband.
- Being a better leader.
- Taking more rest.
- Getting fitter....again!
- Knowing God more deeply.
The last one may be helped by something I've just signed up to.
You may have thought by the title that I want to talk about bringing back the ultra-cool 1990s Channel 4 show 'The Word' every day for the next year (Terry Christian and Dani Behr hosting of course).
Alas, my title is about things a little more heavenly!
I came across an initiative by Holy Trinity Brompton (www.htb.org.uk) and have signed up to it. They have launched the 'Bible in a Year' initiative and are encouraging people to sign up to commit together to read....you got it- The Bible in a Year!
I've always wanted to do this but haven't had the time, committment or accountablity. I've signed up to this because:
a) I really believe getting into the Bible more is the best way to start my year.
b) I thrive in community. I'll be joining hundreds from all over the world as we do this together; keeping each other accountable and sharing our thoughts, confusions, insights etc.
c) There are lots of posts from bible teachers to help you get the best out of the passage.
I sent a quick email to my small church community and already 5 others have said they'd like to join me in the challenge. We're gonna meet for coffee every now and again over the next twelve months to talk about what's helped us and what we have discovered or struggled with.
It's very simple to register. Maybe you'd like to give it a go as well.
I'm just a bit worried I'll give up at Leviticus. ;-)