Archive for January, 2018
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Too many have embraced a negative understanding of the life of faith; rooted in fear; consumed with and always on high alert to avoid the treacherous pitfalls snapping at our heels. Such preoccupation is shortsighted and can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. While wary, such things should not be our focal point. Instead of running in fear, we live in loving pursuit of the One who is the focal point of our affection.
“As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore” (John 6:66).
Many publishers have provided in the front or back of their bibles a compilation of “cherry picked” passages for the purpose of offering comfort. These are listed under headings such as “Comfort In Times of Grief…Fear…Suffering…” Unfortunately, just as the regular consumption of comfort food will make you overweight, lazy, and unhealthy; a steady diet of comforting verses will have the same adverse effect. While many had an aversion to Jesus’ teaching about the necessity of eating his flesh and drinking his blood and, as a result, would turn away from following after him, it is the only diet that provides true health and well-being.
“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart” (Proverbs 4:20-21).
Research indicates that 40% of our daily activities are the result of habit; requiring no cognitive thought or neurological activity. As a people called to “choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15), I find it unsettling to think that we are thinking that little about what we are doing and why we are doing it. Living out of habitual behavior is to have stopped exploring, experiencing, learning, and growing. It means one has lost all curiosity. If we are not attentive and intentional, we can easily fall into a habitual existence of doing life instead of living life.
“Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart’” (Deuteronomy 20:8).
The negativity of bad company is a contagion waiting to spread. It’s easier to be negative and see the bad side of things than it is to be positive and consider the possibility of things. Surround yourself with possibility thinkers that challenge you to see the potential of what might be.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Consider our faith and the work of Christ in contrast to other faith expressions. Every other world religion is a work of the hands; laboring to win the favor of God. Ours, however, is a work of the heart; Christ having done for us what we could not do for ourselves.
“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
A life given to the pursuit of the things of God is the result of a transformed heart. This hungered chase for the purposes of God becomes our delight, joy, and fulfillment. For those engaged in this journey of faith, our desires stand in contradiction to those things that others would set before us if we were to have their approval. It is a clarifying quest and offers the tranquility, serenity, and peace that at a life seeking the applause, admiration, and approval of men cannot offer.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12).
For those seeking to follow Jesus, scripture is the filter through which we are to see, interpret, and understand the world. Sadly, instead of a timeless, historical, grammatical understanding of the text, there are those in the contemporary church that have turned to a method of interpretation known as “reader response.” That is, one’s own culture and context is now the lens through which the bible is read and understood. In other words, instead of an established, authoritative guide in matters of faith and practice, interpretation is now left to the individuals own likings and preferences. Absolute Truth is sacrificed for a truth of your own fashioning. The folly of those pursuing the rewrite of truth is that Absolute Truth remains whether it is acknowledged or not.