Tuesday, September 30, 2008

God's Life

Below is a short devotional that I gave to group of Jesus followers recently. It's a little longer than the usual devotional posts!

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.

Romans 12:1-2a (The Message)

One evening I was invited to dinner at the home of a retired architect and his wife. I was looking forward to it because I had heard about his unique home. When I walked in it was evident he had a particular style.

As we walked around the rooms with him showing how he had put everything together including an enormous billiards table in the middle of the living room I began to be aware that his initial design had not changed one iota from the time he initially put it all together. He had even designed his environment without consideration of his wife—no dishwasher resided in the kitchen because “it didn’t work with my design.” I asked him, “Do you ever change anything around?” “Never. When I put something down, it stays there,” he replied.

My friend was so well adjusted to his culture that there were no allowances for anything "new" whether it be a new arrangement of his furniture, a gift received from a friend or giving his wife her wish of a dishwasher.

As Jesus followers we can’t take anything for granted or become too settled in our “created” environments. Nothing in our lives is too mundane or unimportant for God to take an interest in and want control of. Trying to achieve a sense of security we, like my friend, set up our inner houses in a way that we find comfortable. We like it the way it is. But God wants all our brick a brac, our collections of whatever is important to us, people, events, the stuff of our lives that we cling to as sacred. He doesn’t, however, promise to keep the arrangement of things the same.

There is risk in not being well-adjusted! When we fix our attention on God or in other words open the front door and take him on a tour it may be that he wants to move around the furniture so that we have a better view of him. He may want to get rid of some of the objects that keep us distracted and prevent us from embracing the things he wants for us. He may even find that what we thought kept us connected to him has broken down.

One night my husband and I weren't able to attend the weekly Bible study we had for college students in our home. Trusting them we told the leaders to go ahead and meet in our home. When we walked in the door later that evening our equilibrium immediately went haywire! Every piece of furniture, pictures, wall hangings, figurines, plants, everything had been moved slightly. It was unnerving.

So it can be when we totally embrace God’s life instead of our “created” one. We’ll be changed from the inside out but the result, while initially uncomfortable, will ultimately be more pleasing. The next day I moved everything around and I found the new arrangement very refreshing.

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