Friday, October 8, 2010

Here and there...

I think I have started about 6 different blogs in the past week, however, haven't been able to complete any of them. Either for lack of time or for lack of words I haven't been quite as active as I would like to be in writing. Seasons, as they say, come and go, and God tends to use each one to further our growth. What is interesting about seasons is that as we are going through them, we aren't quite sure the purpose for them, and often we easily lose heart in the midst of them. We quickly forget that Christ "conquered the world" for us on the cross.

I know for me I tend to over complicate the message of the bible. Surrounded by so many isms and schisms and everything in between, we quickly leave the simplicity of the gospel and often times fall into the trap of over complicating what Christ has made simple for us. If there is a character these days I can relate to more and more, it is Timothy. There is something Paul says to Timothy in the beginning of his first letter to him that caught my eye as I studied it.

1 Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

It is that simple. Christ came to save sinners. Paul later in his letter describes to Timothy the mystery behind this salvation. It is the perfect sum of the entire bible, all in one verse, (coincidently, I found it funny how the verse is 3:16, just like John 3:16...I'm not trying to get into the numerology of the bible, however, it is pretty cool).

1 Tim 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

It is the message of the bible summed up beautifully. And it is this message we ought preach. Whether it be through our deeds or our words, our lives must reflect the very thing we hold fast to. As a person who spends hours upon hours studying apologetics and looking into scriptures that cause problems amongst believers and unbelievers alike, I can easily lose sight of God and see Him as nothing more than something to be studied, which is a problem. "There have been men before now who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God if the good Lord had nothing to do but exist!" (CS Lewis).

What we have to remember as Christians, is before we even set foot in the battlefield, we need to check ourselves. The reason for which we are embarking on the journey needs to be determined before we head out, because if our intent is all wrong, it doesn't matter what content we bring with us, the end result won't be everything it could be. We need to keep the main thing, the main thing, Christ.

I have often said it to some but the purpose isn't about being right, it is about shedding light. At the end of the day, I don't want to win the battle of whits, to lose the war of souls. Our purpose in the great commission isn't to upset people with fancy words and well thought out arguments. It is to present the gospel to them by humbling ourselves and becoming what we must in order to speak to their hearts. To the Jew, be the Jew, to the Greek, be the Greek, to the wise, be wise, to the weak, be weak. Like Paul, become all things to all men so that some might be saved (1 Cor 9). This doesn't mean take on the things of this world, but it does mean don't think yourself better than anyone else (Phil 2:1-4, Gal 6:1-6) and certainly don't think someone is ever beyond the reach of God (Eze 37:3, Isaiah 59:1).

So what then? With all that being said, what is the first step. Well to start, understand that all of us are called to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). "If I take 100 men, 1 of them will read the bible, the other 99 will read the Christian" D.L. Moody. As ambassadors our lives need to be in line with that of Christ, and seeing as Christ didn't see His equality with God as something to be selfishly held on to (Phil 2:6), we too shouldn't see our salvation and God given grace as something to simply be gripped for the sake of gripping. We ought open our hands and share with others that spring of living water Jesus speaks of in John 4.

Don't tell me you don't have the gift of evangelism. While it is true some of us excel more at a thing than others, this doesn't excuse anyone from the clear command God gave us all in Matt 28 through His Son. I don't want to hear the Moses type excuses, or the Jeremiah type excuses, and I certainly don't want any of us feeling like Timothy. (these things all are things I am guilty of and am still guilty of). God called all of us to be lighthouses on hills, salt on the earth, reflectors of His love. I am not saying you have to go out on Saturday nights and street evangelize, but I am saying that God tends to place people in our lives that need to see His love, and because we are present, we are the perfect candidates to do this, even more so when we don't think we can, because then it causes us in our weakness to rely on His strength, something He loves.

What good are parking lot lights in one parking lot? What good is a flashlight under a box? What good is unused knowledge? What good is an unread book? The pages of your life are being written, now it is time to let people read them. It is time we stop being spiritual fatties and begin exercising our salvation. Workout it out what Christ has worked in as Paul tells us in Phil 2:12.

Just remember: "Intent first, then content" (J.M. Njoroge)

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