Nov 30 2006
“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to
and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as silver
and search for it as hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the
and find the knowledge of God.”
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I’ve been searching the Word over the last couple days. I’m beginning to answer the three questions that I’ve come up with so far. These questions are being asked because I DESIRE to be part of God’s purpose on this earth, but don’t know HOW. Yesterday I began to reason that our obedience to God’s commands comes not by a forcing of the will but by a winning of our hearts. When we see Him, we are delighted to obey Him because we see His ways as better! We make fun of guys who, because a woman so captures him, will do whatever she wants. We say he’s whipped. When we see God as our all-satisfying One, we too have a desire to obey all He wants. This isn’t being whipped; it’s worship. The process looks like this…
See Jesus –> Love Him –> Obey His commands
So our two questions from this follow:
- How can we see Jesus more clearly? (Because when we do, it inspires obedience to His commands)
- What HAS He commanded that we must obey?
You’ll remember there was a third question:
- What are God’s purposes for humanity?
Today, I want to focus on why the answer to question 3 is important. It’s a matter of compare and contrast (which was a favorite phrase of mine in 7th grade social studies). We all live our lives. We decide to do this or that thing. If an objective observer evaluated our lives, they could extrapolate generalities about what we value by the way we spend our time. For instance, if I was a phys. ed. teacher, watched sports on TV when I was at home, and read 2 hours of sports articles every day, it could be reasonably inferred that I like sports. That example is silly, but it makes the point. If we evaluate the way we spend our days, what would it say about what is most important to us?
A Day In The Life
When I was working, here is what a typical day would look like for me:
7:30pm Read articles on internet
9:00pm Work from home
I did that 5 days a week. And then I’d veg out on the weekend, watching TV and working some more (I worked anywhere between 50-80 hours a week). Now, I understand that there are specifics that can take place at work (e.g. interacting with co-workers, producing high-quality work, etc). Overall, though, most of us don’t actively consider those things. They just kind of happen.
As you can tell, the point I’m making is that most of our lives are lived pretty aimlessly. We don’t have a real purpose. Make money so we can survive and try to have some fun. That is the overarching ethos of our generation. If we happen to do some good along the way, great, but it is not uppermost in most of our minds.
His Life In a Day
We’re in a position to compare OUR priorities with those of God in order to find out how our lives stack up. What is in God’s heart (this is a list which needs to grow as we see more in Scripture)…
- Loose the chains of injustice
- Set the oppressed free
- Sharing food with the hungry
- Giving water to the thirsty
- Provide the poor wanderer with shelter
- Clothing the naked
- Not turning away from our own flesh and blood
- Not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance through Christ
- Rescuing orphans
- Rescuing widows
This is just a sampling. How was I doing at accomplishing the Lord’s purposes? Not so hot! This “life dissonance” is significant because He wants us to do His work which is why He commands us to live a certain way. But we ignore most of His commands because we don’t think we’re living the wrong way. And then we have the nerve to ask, “What’s this world coming to?” It wouldn’t be so bad if we Christians didn’t live such marginal lives! No, we’ve found a different path and we like it. It has some biblical remnants, so we reason it’s ok. Nevermind that we’re not even close to living productive kingdom lives. Everyone else around us is living the same way, so we must be cool. The Christian has been called to live another life! Fitting in really isn’t God’s way. In the Old Testament, God’s people, the Israelites, were judged time and time again for living life like everyone else around them (i.e. ignoring God’s commands). There IS a need for this discussion to happen among us, friends. Our lives are not even close fulfilling God’s purposes.
Peter nails it spot on when he tells us of the new lives we have.
Christ-followers, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light…Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:9,11-12).
The lives we’re living are marginal. They’re like everyone else’s. I wonder how many will glorify God on the last day because of the good deeds we’ve done before them. To me, it’s little wonder the church is so irrelevant today. What should we expect when we treat God’s purposes with such indifference? To even attempt justifying our “busy” lives smacks of dishonesty and, maybe, wickedness. I’m not condemning everyone. Some people live admirable, beautiful lives. I’m not and never really have been one of those people. My boy Dylan said it, “How many times can a man turn his head / And pretend he doesn’t see? / The answer is blowin’ in the wind.” The Spirit moves even now. I’m more convinced right now than ever that Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians applies to us: “Examine yourselves…test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5). There is treasure to be had! Ask, seek, knock. He will help us along the way!