Friday, September 19, 2008

Life Through a Different Lens

My daughter and I are in San Diego to visit relatives and are enjoying our time together. As I went to bed last night the Lord brought to mind that we are to be doers of what the Bible says and not hears only. Jim Durkin, my first Pastor, words came to mind, “Practice the Word, do what it says and in the doing of it you will come to understand it.”

Our natural inclination is self-preservation and self-interest. When we practice the Word, we learn to think in different ways. Paul the apostle wrote in the book of Romans that, ‘we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Our natural ways of thinking need to change. It is when we put in to practice the Word, that we gain the insight and experience to discern the Lord’s direction.

As I lay in bed last night, I pondered the thought of practicing the Word, and the scripture came to mind, “He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord”, and “Some of you have entertained angles unawares”. Earlier in the day, while driving I noticed a man standing on the corner holding a sign begging for money. You know the scene. A fairly well dressed; looking like he is not starving, type guy. My first reaction was, “what a scam”. I started thinking, how does putting to practice the Word work? You see a beggar and you decide to do what the Bible says. You have your doubts, but you do it out of obedience to the Word. You give some money and drive away. Thoughts flood your mind of what a fool you have been. Yet you feel like you have at least honored the Lord with a good attempt.

It is my opinion that in the above scenario a great victory has been won. Whether the man was scamming, or the money was to be use in self-destructive ways, yet the Christian has stepped out of himself and has acted in a self-sacrificing way. He has sowed into eternity. This principle of doing the Word, will affect every area of our life. It is through the Bible that we see how much our natural way of thinking is at odds with God. Yet we can mature in our walk with God by agreeing with Him and doing what he has commanded us in the Bible. Another example is, “give and it will be given to you”, it is through the practice of this truth that we see the out working of it. It may not make sense to our natural mind, but the principle is true nonetheless. When we step out in faith, and experience the result, we become more confident of the truth of the Word. I’m not suggesting that we are unwise or foolish with our money, I’m saying that we need to change the default setting by doing what the Word says and in that, we will learn to hear the leading of the Spirit. If we learn to give to the poor it is easier for the Spirit to put on the brakes on our giving than to lead to do it in the first place. When we do the Word we change our natural ways of thinking and cut through the clutter of self.

Those who ruined their life through sinful living may have an advantage in this area. Before I came to the Lord, I was at rock bottom. Most of the values I had been taught as a child had been thrown to the wayside. Drugs and wanton living had destroyed my life and I was living on the streets. Convinced that I was a victim and that the world owed me something, I was trapped in a prison of destructive ways of thinking. When Christ broke into my life and I started relating to other believers, it became obvious to me that the thinking patterns and conclusions that I had about life did not work. Some how I knew that I needed to change and transform the way I thought. I set out to practice the Word, and it fundamentally changed who I was. Those are successful in this life seldom question their ways of thinking and never realize their need for change. Yet all of us have been acculturated and trained to think in ways that are contrary to God’s Word. Our mind has a significant role in our walk with God, and it needs to be transformed and renewed. Thirty-two years later I still need do what the Bible says and challenge my assumptions and ways of thinking.