Friday, August 16, 2013

Living Faith is step-by-step!

The reforms of Josiah were the focus of my reading this morning.  Sin permeated the whole of the nation, and Josiah systematically removed it bit by bit.  As a 'planner' I wanted to see a program to implement--a way to conquer sin.  I didn't see that.  I saw a leader passionately pursuing the glory of God...not analyzing every step, not micro-managing, not worrying whom he upset...just pursuing God step-by-step.  I struggle with that...perhaps it is simply the old acronym, K.I.S.S, I need to remember?  Keep it simple stupid.  All of life is about the Lord...He does the work and He deserves the focus and the glory.

One of my favorite commentaries on the Bible is written by a down-to-earth man named J. Vernon McGee.  Speaking of this passage, he put it this way:  "Believing in God doesn't make you a Christian." 

Just like standing in a garage doesn't make you a car, believing, thinking or even doing certain things does not make you a Christian.  What you believe, think and do IS who you are...our lives reveal our true selves.  That's tough stuff!
He went on to say the evidence is the living of our lives--of who we are at work and in our homes.  Do our lives really testify to Jesus Christ as King?  That is the question we must grapple with for every step:  for every response, for every attitude.  A check-list would be neater and directive...God knew we would think that, so the Law showed us the check-list that revealed the glory of God.  We don't come close but that doesn't mean we should not press toward it!  We studied 'sanctification' in Bible Study last night--a churchy word for the transformation process that is the living out the Righteousness the Spirit puts in.  It is simple and complex at the same time.  It is moment by moment surrender to holiness...that surrender is not even an option until we see the need for His work in our lives.  It all begins with the Lord's plans and every step must be in thankfulness for His great planning and power. 

I suspect the order of the reforms Josiah made were responses to the things God helped him to see.  The faith that opens our eyes to our need for Christ's work on our behalf grows expands as the years go by.  Each response of surrender, each step of obedience, reveals a new one.  The Christian life is one of continual cleansing--the work is never done.  The indwelling Spirit is the first-fruit not the harvest.  And the glory of that harvest belongs totally to the Lord.  Thankfully receive His gifts and allow His work to go forth--showing the next step at just the right time.  He'll produce a glorious result without us ever knowing the total program ahead of time.

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