Monday, February 3, 2014

what if our greatest commitment was to the greatest commandment?

When I was in high school I once used up all of my babysitting money to buy an entire volume of books that took you through the Bible - Genesis to Revelation.  I was a dorky responsible kid and I thought that I had some major responsibilities when it came to my faith in God.
I never made it past the third book.  I would always get busy and then too much time would pass so I would decide to start all over again.  I carried a tremendous burden when it came to being disciplined in my faith.  I thought private disciplines were necessary to earn God's favor, so I sped forward through life like a motorboat trying to get ahead by my own hard work and perseverance.

After years of doing the 'right' things I went off to college and decided it was high time that I got rid of the heavy load I had been carrying.  For heavens sake, the Bible says that it is for freedom that we have been set free...I needed freedom from the guilt and burden of spiritual discipline!  I suddenly turned into a raft that just floated along wherever the waters carried me.

It wasn't until much later in life that I learned private disciplines were not really anything like a motorboat or a raft.

When I was in graduate school in Arizona I joined a women's bible study led by Mary.

Mary practiced private disciplines in a way I had never seem them practiced before.  It was as if she constantly held her hands cupped open waiting for God to pour something into them.  I saw the overflow of what she received in the radiant way she loved God and loved others.  For Mary, spending time in prayer or bible study or any other discipline was like a gift she couldn't wait to unwrap.
It was not something she felt she needed to earn.  It was something she gratefully received.
It was not like a burden she avoided.  It was like an invitation she accepted.

When I met Mary I began to see the practice of private disciplines more like a sailboat.

God sends the winds of His Holy Spirit and we set the sail to receive it.
We position ourselves to be moved and used by God.
Our goal isn't to earn.  Our goal is to receive.

What if we were committed to receiving all that God wants to give us through the practice of private disciplines?
How would that change our hearts and minds?
How would that change the way we interact with our family and friends?
How would that change the impact we have on our community?
How would that move us away from the temporary things of this world to the eternal, enduring things of God?

Yesterday I taught on private disciplines at our church and offered some 'What If' suggestions.  You can listen to the message HERE.
You can expect me to post more on this subject because, frankly, it's rocking my stay tuned.
In the meantime let's encourage one another as we make our greatest commitment the greatest commandment.