Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Life, and Then Some


It certainly has been a while since I have been able to write for Reboot. It's weird how fast time flies by.

Have you paid much attention to how passions, habits, etc wax and wane over life's seasons? It can be for a thousand different reasons, but as finite creatures there is only so much we can handle at one time. I had the unique positioning over the past few months to know that I would likely be leaving my secular job, after which I would be pursuing my passion: preaching and ministry. As I look back on my life over the past few months my passion has waxed and it has waned, my habits strained. I have been so busy between boxing up my life, preparing my 'job' to be passed on to the next person, (and back and forth and back and forth) that I was hard-pressed just to keep up my daily devotional time and daily 'bible reading/listening' (we do Bible audio every evening, Max McLean is by far the best). My daily thought was: "I can't wait to move, so that I'll actually have the time to read and focus..."

“Who has time? Who has time? But then if we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time?”                                                                                     --The Merovingian, ‘The Matrix Reloaded’

The thing with "I'll do it when's" and "I can't wait until's" are that life doesn't always turn out like you expect it. I can't be sure if it is due to the loss of habit, but when we have a void in our lives it isn't necessarily filled with what we intended. I am convinced (at least in my life) that at least some minimal standard of habit goes a long way, particularly with regard to spiritual life. It has always been the habitual times of devotionals that I have been most resolute, and it has been the lack thereof that I have been the most lazy spiritually. More importantly it is those "stolen" times where we have escaped just to pray, or read God's Spirit-inspired Word, or just dwell on His utter glory and holiness that we have been the most thankful for such time. Thinking about this brought Peter's first epistle to mind:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:3-9 NASB)

It's the times where we have to struggle that, I think, we are most passionate and most thankful. Just as gold is refined by fire, we grow in times of trial. This is true whether it is Daniel praying despite it being illegal, first century Christians facing the looming reality of being crucified like their/our savior, or whatever sense we might be tried today or tomorrow. It is the times when we have to resolve to press on in faith even "though [we] do no see Him now", after which or by which we "greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of [our] faith the salvation of [our] souls."

Peter even tells us how we can be fueled to press on:
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'" (1 Peter 1:13-16 NASB)
Actively prepare your mind for action. Actively keep sober in spirit, remaining vigilant spiritually. Continuously fix your hope COMPLETELY on God's grace, the very foundation of our trust and faith. Resolve specifically to not even look upon worldly lusts that afflicted you in the past, and resolve generally not to be drawn toward any other/additional worldly lusts. "For this is the will of God, your Sanctification [...]" (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Sanctification is progressive, a continuous work. We work, though it is not our work that gives the increase but rather God working in/on/through us. We must bear fruit(s) in keeping with our repentance and salvation (Luke 3:8). Paul himself presses this. Paul's own explicit statement of what God's will is is preceded by the direct exhortation to press harder, to work harder, to continue the Christian walk. "...we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more." (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

See, the thing is...
The Christian walk isn't something you get around to. That's why we call it "living for Jesus." We shouldn't do life and then find space here and there for our faith, rather we should live out our faith and THEN find space here and there for life. Lest we forget that "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."(Galatians 2:20)  (Also see: Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12)

"Faith is the deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time."                                                                                 --Oswald Chambers

1 comment:

  1. "It's the times where we have to struggle that, I think, we are most passionate and most thankful."

    I couldn't agree more. While I can't go into the things I've been struggling with recently, I have found myself reflecting on the very thing you have written above. It's almost as if we must have struggles to see God's grace in our lives. I have become very diligent with morning times with God, so much so that I have been saying "it is good for us to be here" just as Peter said in Matthew 17:4.