Going Through The Motions – Lessons from the deep-end of the pool

I remember going swimming at a wading pool when I was quite young. I had seen adults swimming and I was determined that I could learn to swim as well. I worked hard to imitate the kicking and swimming motions that I had seen others do, and it wasn’t long before I was doing the front crawl all over that little wading pool.

 To the casual onlooker it must have seemed odd to see this little boy swimming so well. And it wasn’t until I began to swim out in the deeper water, that I made a discovery. I hadn’t been swimming at all.

 I looked like I was swimming. I thought I was swimming. But, in reality, I wasn’t. I had been kicking my feet and making the stroke motion with my arms. But the whole time, my other hand had been firmly placed on the bottom of the pool. Now, as I got out into deeper water, I had to really learn to do, what I had only been going through the motions of before, I had to learn to swim.

 Many christians live out their christianity the very same way. To the casual onlooker, they seem to be christians. In fact, they may even have fooled themselves. In reality though, they are only going through the motions. They copy the actions and life styles of christians around them, but they have never learned to let go and trust God. They are buoyed by the fact that they believe in a God, in much the same way that as a boy, I was partially buoyed by the water of the wading pool. They are christians because the people they are copying are christians, aren’t they? But theoretical christianity just doesn’t cut it.

 Real christianity is an applied science. The problem is, that you don’t know the difference until you experience the real thing. It is a frightening thing to try to do something that you have never done before. It is frightening thing to take God at His word. No theological excuses, qualifications, and exceptions. Just to take Him at His word, and learn from Him.

 The call is to launch out into the deep, where you can no longer touch bottom, where your reason, your intellect and your strength can’t carry you. Then, and only then, will you learn to swim. Then the reality of the christian life will open to new depth, opportunity and purpose.

 So launch out into the deep and trust God!

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Lifestyle Evangelism 101

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
MATTHEW 9:37-38

In Matthew 9 verses 37 and 38, Jesus, speaking to His disciples, instructed them to pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would send workers into the harvest, because the harvest was great but the workers were few.

It is still true today. We need to pray to God our father, the lord of the harvest, that He would send workers into the harvest. Who are these workers? Well, it is those of us who are willing to be used.

 Often, when we are making decisions about our careers, or where we live, and so many other significant decisions, little consideration seems to be given to how those plans fit into God’s plan for impacting the world. Money, benefits, and pension plans are given far more consideration than the leading and direction of God. We need to be careful not to let our responsibility to provide for our family distract us from the greater issue of being where God wants us to be. After all, God is more aware of our needs and responsibilities than we are.

 The question is not, “do I evangelize?’, but rather, ” how and where do I evangelize?”. Should I be a preacher or police officer? Should I be a teacher or sanitation worker? Should I be a business person or a missionary? Regardless of where I serve, I am called to the work of the harvest, and that is the work that God is calling me to. We need to pray for God’s direction as to where we best fit into His plan.

Why should we pray?

We should pray because, the job is large and the workers are few.

We need to pray because, there are too many preachers in the pulpit who shouldn’t be there and too many people who should be in the pulpit who aren’t.

We need to pray because, our greatest efforts will fail, but God’s simplest plan will succeed beyond our wildest expectations.

We need to pray because, as we pray, we will hopefully be convicted of our laziness and get off our blessed assurance and do something.

We need to pray because, we need to be awakened again to the truth of the gospel, and as a result break forth into thanksgiving, adoration and praise to God for what He has done for us. I wonder what that would do for the church!

We need to pray, that we would see how hurting our world is, and then be moved with compassion to help meet the need.

And we need to pray because, like our Father in heaven, we care!

 

Questioning Sin

 If you ask people what sin is,

you will probably get a list of things such as murder or rape, but you probably won’t see on the list many of the more common behavioral things such as lust, gluttony, or lying. Some people would put smoking on their list, and in response to that I would like to quote a somewhat popular expression that goes like this. “Smoking probably won’t send you to hell, it will just make you smell like it.” Most of us put the objectionable conduct of others on the sin list and omit the majority of our own objectionable conduct.

Sometimes our viewpoint of sin changes with our personal struggles in dealing with things. What we considered sin, during the enthusiastic and sometimes utopian years of youth, become areas where we still need work later in life. Whether or not we personally struggle with something cannot be and is not how we decide what is or isn’t sin.

Firstly we must recognize that we all sin. 

1 John 1:8  ¶If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The solution for sin is the ongoing confession of it in our life, and the receiving and giving of God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

The problem of sin really only becomes terminal, when instead of confessing it and being forgiven of it, we deny and justify it. We all can easily justify our position with logic and state that the idea of sin is old fashioned and obsolete, but ultimately that decision isn’t ours to make. What is and isn’t sin is revealed to us by God through the scriptures and through our ongoing walk  with Him through His Spirit.

The liberty of the christian experience comes through the daily renewal and purification that comes through surrendering our ideas to the will and purposes of God.

1 Peter 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: