Prayer for Week of April 15 — Being A Doer and Not Just A Hearer
What’s your approach to your faith? Are you very good at memorizing and studying and reading the works of great theologians or popular preachers? You might be able to quote Scriptures backwards and forwards. But, does it go beyond knowing your faith and cross over into actually living your faith?
I’ve been impressed lately that if we all actually LIVED our faith in tangible ways, what a different world this would be! Oh, but that’s so difficult. I mean, REALLY difficult! My BFF in heaven, GK Chesterton (I’m totally asking the Lord if my house can be next to his in Glory.) said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” Ouchie.
Commands of Jesus (well, some of them):
- Love your enemies
- Pray for those who persecute you
- Rejoice and be exceedingly glad
- Heal the sick
- Raise the dead
- Freely give (after all, you’ve freely received)
- Consider the Lilies
- Let your light shine before men and let them see your good works
- Don’t hate (or you’ll be guilty of murder)
- Don’t lust (or you’ll be guilty of adultery)
- Be reconciled
- Agree with your adversary quickly
- Forgive men their trespasses (if not, you won’t be forgiven yours)
- Don’t worry.
- Ask, seek and knock
- Give mercy, not sacrifice
- Make disciples
Now those are some complicated knots. Truly the weightier things of the law.
The late Rich Mullins wrote:
“The Bible is a very great book. It is the written witness to God’s revelation of Himself in His Word: Jesus Christ. And, if you like, you can make a great deal of it.
You can speculate about it: This will make you a philosopher and people will think you are deep and very smart.
You can pontificate in view of it: This will make you a preacher and people will marvel at your courage and gift for oratory.
You can adulate it: This will make you its No. 1 fan. You can display your very fine collection of its various versions all over your house.
You can attack it: This will make you a skeptic and people will admire your honest, blind determination to live in your grim, faithless little world.
You can adapt it: This will make you a youth pastor or a Christian musician or a feminist theologian or a popular author. You, too, can be the icing on a cake.
You can systemize it: This will make you a theologian and people will quote you and regard those quotes as some sort of authority.
You can criticize it: This will make you a scholar–and those who are not put off by your eggheadedness will confer on you M.A.s and D.D.s.
You can theorize about it: This will make you an expert in biblical slants on contemporary issues like political science, psychology, church grown economics, sex and marriage.
You can ponder it: This will make you a mystic and people will turn to you for spiritual advice (and from you when they get it).
You can practice it: This will make you a model citizen–a fair, generous, and righteous (if somewhat uptight) person.
Of course, what we make of the Bible will never be as great a thing as what the Bible will–if we let it–make of us. For that which is born of the flesh–our human understanding and handlings–is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit–God’s revelation of Himself and the power of that revelation to enliven us–is spirit. The will of man will not ultimately prevail against the will of God. It is the will of God that we should know Him as He has revealed Himself and that will has not only survived the arrogant attacks of the scientific and “enlightened” men, it has (even more miraculously) thrived in spite of our best intended, though sadly misguided, attempts at “rightly dividing” that seamless rode of revelation.
So, let us press on with no faith in our own understanding and nothing but faith in the Truth that is too great to be diminished by our feeble minds and too great to not transform us. Salvation comes from God, not from our cleverness. The Bible is a very great book. Let us submit to it so God may do the great work of making us into a great people.”
Lord, give us the courage to be doers of Your Word! Allow us the grace to live our faith in radical ways that go against the culture and even against our very natures! May we take our lamps out from under the baskets and let them shine. May we take the salt You’ve given us and truly shake it around the world! May we live what we claim to believe. In Jesus’ Name (Jesus, who lived the most radical life on earth that the world has ever known! And who has challenged us do to greater works!) AMEN!