Thoughts of a Radical Pastor column: Fitting the Bible narrative to our lives
It is hard not to read God's Word and put it into an American, First-World problem kind of worldview. I hope that makes sense. What I mean is, we read the Bible and try to fit the narrative into the context of our lives. We try to jam God into our already busy, messed up, live for the weekend, happiness pursuing lives when God wants us to abandon ourselves and pursue Him with everything we’ve got.
When we read about the Apostle Paul encouraging a young-middle aged pastor named Timothy (like in 2nd Timothy) to do certain things or to not do certain things, we look for reference points in our life in order to find application, rather than just read it and take it at face value and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit saying, "Do you hear this? Now go and do this?"
I have a theory that every Christian wakes up with the attitude of “let’s roll” - in other words, we are serious about our faith and we want to make an impact. We are not the hypocrites that those outside of the church think we are. I read last week that, “Every Christian is a struggling Christian.” That’s true, and that’s why God has given us grace, but grace is not a license to sin and never mature from a spiritual perspective.
I don’t think any Christ-Follower wakes up wanting to fail and take summer school but … but somewhere between reading and actually doing like in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13), most growth that comes from the Word of God gets devoured, choked out or scorched. Because of short attention spans, we might even forget about our good intentions, life happens (breakfast dishes, singleness, marriage, work, summer baseball, yada, yada, yada) and then we become less than what God desires from His church (the church is us). I don't know about you, but I still want to live a life that would please my parents, and I sure want to please my heavenly Father. Someday I want to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23).”
You have heard me reference James 1:22, and it has been a game changer for me — we cannot just be hearers of the Word but we must also be doers of the Word. Can I encourage you - don't second guess yourself, don't be concerned about the results of your obedience, don't worry about the suffering that might come with strict obedience to the truth, and be willing to pay the cost of following Jesus. Read the Word, live out the Word, and as you do that, prepare to be blessed! Proverbs 16:20 promises us, "God blesses those who obey Him:"
We think in very temporary terms. Our culture almost demands it, but somehow we have got to pump the brakes and think more about eternity (less here and now). You have probably heard someone say, “Some people are so earthly minded they are no heavenly good, and some people are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.” Somewhere in that is balance and the bullseye. What are you aiming for? Are we building our kingdom or THE Kingdom? He asked me to ask you that. Now go get'em!