Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Living in God's Arrangement

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 looked forward to it because I had heard about his unique home. When I walked in it was evident he had a particular style.

As he walked us around the rooms, showing how he had put everything together, including an enormous billiards table in the middle of the living room, I was 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—there was no dishwasher to be found 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 host 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. Trying to achieve a sense of security, we, like my host, set up our inner houses in a way that we find comfortable. We like it just the way it is. But God wants all our brick a brac, our collections of whatever is important to us, people, events, the traditions of our lives that we cling to as sacred. He makes no promises about keeping the arrangement of things the same.

There is a risk to 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 you get a better view--of Him. He may want to get rid of some of the objects that keep you distracted and prevent you from accepting the gifts he wants to give. He may even find, that what you thought kept you connected to him, is broken and out of order!

One night, my husband and I weren't able to attend the weekly Bible study we had for college students in our home. In total trust, we told the leaders to go ahead and meet in our home. When we walked in the door, later that evening, our equilibrium 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 found the new arrangement very refreshing!

Jesus, help me to not become so settled in my life
that I miss the refreshment of living life in You.
Help me not to opt for security and sameness but
to trust that even though You move things around,
You know what is best for me.

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