Monday, 12 January 2015

A trivial pursuit

Anything worth having requires an effort, nothing comes for free and somebody has to do to get. When  you enter into a relationship you tend to make an effort, you court, say nice things, see each other regularly. Then for some reason over time we get lazy, i know i do and its not great, i can be a real heel at times and I'm working on it. But how do we have a fulfilling relationship with God, how do we get to that place where we know it's "spot on" can it ever be spot on? i will posit that yes it can, but its going to take work and effort.

There are certain principles laid down in the scriptures about how our relationship with God develops, how it grows, what God does in it and what we do in it. God for his part says " I will never leave you or forsake you. Come to me and i will give you rest. Ask and it will be given to you, Seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened". Now you can see in these that God does his part, we need to do our part, so why don't we? For some of us its down to laziness, we just can be bothered with the doing, we wait and wait and wait and wait and when God does not do, we get a hissy fit on, throw our toys from the pram and sit in the corner sulking. There are spiritual principles at work in our lives, principles laid down by God to help us, to enable us, so why are we playing at trivial pursuit?

Is it a sad fact that in our post modern world we expect much for little? we expect something for nothing, we are in danger of growing a generation of stunted and ineffective Christians, because they are fed week in week out, they are blessed and then many do very little with it. They are taught great Biblical principles and they then forget, in many cases even before the last hymn has finished. To be an effective follower/disciple of Jesus takes an effort it takes a work on our part. We just can't sit and wait, we have to do something or else we are in danger of nothing happening.

So with the idea of doing something i'm going to put 3 things out there for consideration.

1. Pray not because you want but because you can, instead of always take take take, just sit and commune with God for the sake of friendship, the sake of relationship.

2. Make an effort to put our faith into practise, mow someones lawn, help out a neighbour, do something for someone else, and I'm aware that many many Christians do many good things, this his not to down play that in anyway. But from experience for every 1 believer who does there are usually 4-6 who don't.

3. Make an effort to bless someone on a daily basis, not for reward or gain, but because you can. You see giving is a great way to grow especially in a spiritual sense, we give because it helps, we give because we can.

For many of us our faith and the pursuit of God is a trivial thing, we trivialise it by our attitudes to one another, by our actions, by our words and by our lack of effort. Nothing comes for free, we need to pursue God if we are to see God move its that simple. It does not need to be complicated by a mass of complicated theology, it does not need a mass debate about its rights and wrongs, it requires us to do and do we must.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Setting the Sail

I was not going to post another entry for a while but i have received a few emails today asking about what i mean by setting the sail, as the idea of pursuit is going to be an ongoing idea for the year (tho not all the time) i will clarify what i mean by it.

Setting the sail is a nautical term used to catch wind to enable the ship to go forward or in the desired direction, it was a requirement of a sailor to be able to catch the wind, to move the ship. A really good sailor could take a westerly wind and move the ship in an easterly direction and vis versa, it was down to experience, watching waiting looking at the clouds, the swell of the sea, all these things enabled him to catch the wind and move.

So it is with setting the sail for the things of God, a sloppy sail will flap in the breeze make a lot of noise but ultimately not move the ship forward a great deal. We need to catch the wind of the Spirit to enable us to move forward, we are called to be filled with the Spirit of God, filled so we can move forward, filled so we can fulfil what God wants. So when we are filled do we sit flapping in the breeze, making a lot of noise and not moving forward or do we tighten down the sails and move with the Spirit of God? Setting the sails to move is not an overnight quick fix, it requires work, it will require us to watch, to listen, to see the swell of the sea, to see the direction the wind is blowing, to set the sails of our lives in God in the direction he is leading us. We can decide to keep flapping in the breeze if we want to, or we can move forward with God, just don't blame God for not moving if you are flapping in the breeze. God wants and desires to move us forward, is our desire to move with him or to stay static? We have a choice just like the sailor on the ship, he has to set the sail to catch the breeze and wind, he makes the decision to drift aimlessly or to move with the wind, we have those same choices.

Jesus, our great pursuit

The book that has influenced my faith more than any other (the Bible being the exception) is The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer, i have read it about 13 times over the years and it never fails to move me, focus me, and pull me back on track. Its time to read it again, but that will not be happening until we move as the books are packed away in boxes. But its got me to thinking about pursuit and in this instance pursuing Jesus, we often talk of being like Jesus, or following Jesus, thinking like Jesus and I'm not sure that we do. You see many of us are so self absorbed with our own opinions, our own attitudes that the pursuit of Jesus gets lost in the pursuit of being correct for a short time. We pursue popularity like it's the air we breath, we pursue wealth like its going to sort all our problems out, we pursue love and we hit and hope that we are loved back. But how do we pursue Jesus, well I'm going to outline a few things, some you may agree with and i can already tell you who will disagree with whats written, but hey ho here we go. To pursue Jesus in this context is to be more like him in the everyday activity of our lives, to be more like him in what we say and do. So with that in mind here are a few pointers to try and get us pursing the greatness of Jesus and his righteousness.

1. We need to submit our will to his will and leading, we need to stop thinking we are more important than him, we need to actually say yes " Jesus you are my Lord" and actually submit to his leading and will. It will mean we have to knuckle down, we will need to let him have his way and it will mean even if we don't get our own way still declare "Jesus is Lord".

2. We will need to apply our minds and bodies to prayer, we will need to become a people of prayer, a people who believe in the power of those words we utter making a difference to the situation and to the God who answers those prayers. We need in some respects to rediscover that great communication of the spoken word to God and what it can do, to offer comfort in times of trouble, to offer hope in times of hopelessness, to offer ourselves to him in a fresh and dynamic way.

3. Seeking his holiness, this one is the crippler, this is the one most of us will struggle with. Just how do we become holy like Jesus was holy, well it requires numbers 1 &2 above to be put into action, it also requires us to change in certain ways. We will need to tame our tongues, we will need to be humble, we will need to know when its the correct time to speak and the correct time to shut up, we will need to start thinking like Jesus would have thought, and that is actually fairly easy to do, stop take a breath before you speak and ask yourself would Jesus say this in that way, would he react like I'm about to react?

Pursuing Jesus or God is never going to be a breeze, its not going to fall into your lap from above and its all going to be sorted out. It requires work, it requires commitment, it requires an effort, and unfortunately with todays instant society many of us will not attempt to pursue him, we will be happy doing the same old same old and wondering why it is that when we refuse to do things differently, God just stays the same and nothing different happens. To pursue something requires effort, it requires work. I'm going to pursue Jesus this year, I'm going to make an effort, I'm going to try and become more like him, and see how that change in me affect the people i interact with. There is to much hurt and pain in our world and its time for the followers of Jesus to stand up, be counted and lead by the example of Grace, love, humility and righteousness, if we don't do it nobody else is likely to do it. Its a new year a new start lets pursue Jesus, he is the great pursuit of our lives, he is the great pursuit of my life and I'm glad he is. Set your sail into the wind of the Holy Spirit and pursue for all you are worth, because it will be worth it and the rewards are immense.

Peace people