My takeaway from Dr. Lolley’s message this past Sunday:
- God is a really big God.
- His plans, His blessings, and His Word are really big.
- His talent at being ‘In-Charge’ is really big.
- He has never given us any of that stuff on our own terms or timetable.
- So we really ought not try to limit or box Him in.
These reminders are well-timed for us. Seasons of transition usually start with questions that have no apparent answers yet. Certainly we have plenty of those as we now begin seeking God’s will for our next pastor.
Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel live in a cyclical ‘pattern of transition’ which they repeat over and over again: 1) they turn from the LORD, 2) He allows them to suffer the consequences of their actions, 3) they repent and turn back to God once the pain is bad enough, and 4) they begin to receive His blessings again. Unfortunately, once they become comfortable, they also become complacent and self-sufficient again – and the pattern starts to repeat itself.
Did that ever happen in your walk with the LORD? It certainly did in mine, and I’m living proof that our God will stop at nothing to bring His children back into His loving care.
The crowd who saw their efforts and actions as their saving grace were the only people for whom Jesus had harsh words. Convinced that they’d cornered the market on God’s will, they were complacent and self-sufficient – just like the Israelites. Jesus threatened every tradition and ritual they were used to.
What does that have to do with us?
Well, if we’re honest, most of us have had thoughts like this: “I like our church just the way it is. But I’m open to trying some different things, as long as they don’t affect me personally.”
That’s exactly where the enemy of our souls wants each of us. He knows we don’t crucify people anymore, but he spurs us on at church, at home, everywhere – to argue and plot and divide against each other if anyone tries to upset the comfort of our personal apple cart. He eggs us on to gossip, which is nothing more than a polite form of murder by character assassination. Not so different, is it?
Let’s encourage one another to be on guard each day, reminded that we’re constantly in a state of spiritual warfare. After all, as Paul writes, our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Let us go forward through this week, and the coming weeks, in the spirit of Christian soldiers, “marching as to war”:
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor 10:3-6
By His grace alone, may our thoughts be taken captive to the obedience of Christ each day throughout this week. I’ll see you Sunday.
In His grip, Christopher Reed