Joe Catoe wrote me an email about something he believed the Lord wanted him to share with our church. After reaching his thought, I was provoked by his example of taking God's word seriously and I thought this would serve you.
Sunday messages are easy to sit through. While the sermon is preached our minds can ponder in the abstract what it means for us. We can ignore its application for ourselves and think of how the Word is speaking to someone else or maybe even critique minute points. Yet, particularly on counter-culture issues, the hardest responses are to not merely sit, ponder, ignore or critique but to actually look at the reflection of our own actions in the mirror that the Word of God is holding up to us.
Brothers and sisters, a few messages into this mini-series on cultural issues I have felt freshly challenged not just to reflect, but to think about how I can take action. I believe that God wants to remind us not just to hear and think about these messages but to personally and earnestly desire true change in our community to come through our individual acts of love.
At the conclusion of each message lies the tough terrain where the choice of indifference vs. exertion lies and the eternal stakes of the choice are substantial. When the preached Word challenges us to look inward at our own racial prejudices, lack of understanding and ways we can grow in celebrating diversity do you choose to take action? Did you look at your reflection to determine the steps God was asking you to take to grow? Or did you simply sit, ponder, ignore or critique the message and disregard the application points (a. pray, b. listen, c. weep, d. talk)? How about as Jeff preaches and God speaks to us through his Word about the value of unborn life? It is so tempting to let the words of scripture wash over us and never allow it to penetrate us to change how we can proactively care for and love the unborn children. Are we ready to get into the dirt and impact the way women are treated around us and to aid in the battle against poverty? What about gender? Are we going to go against the tide, resist culture’s devaluing of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman and truly be free to be who we can through Jesus? Simply put; are we asking the question; “What does action mean for me?”
God created you and me as his workmanship, and as believers he took action for each one of us to buy us back at the greatest of all prices for the purpose of His glory and for us to show His love through doing good work. Ephesians Chapter 2:4-5; 8-10 says the following:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ... For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
At the cross, Christ’s actions saved us from ourselves. Our dead lost-in-our-own-thinking self is now buried beneath the wooden shadow where the great Love hung. He sacrificed to redeem us so that we might live in the new life that Christ gave us, ounting as rubbish our past worldview, preferences, comforts and opinions. The old me is gone. We now have a free gift, and Christ wants to use you and I in powerful ways, right here, right now, if we will only choose to listen and walk in what he has prepared for us. In each message God is making us more aware of what he is calling us to walk in and how. He purchased us to go against our sinful nature, to be counter-cultural and to check our “individualism” at the door of what he has prepared for us.
Today will you explore how God might use you? Will you dare to go beyond simply listening and instead joyfully and expectantly stare into the mirror the Word has held up and make a decision to walk forward?
We are God’s hands and feet here on earth and the cost is too high not to fight for change. There are decades of pain in this world that can only be addressed through God using our actions. I am going to fight to walk in the good works my Savior has prepared. Will you join me, brothers and sisters? Our individual actions are the brush strokes that paint the image of our Father to this hurting, lost and hellbound world. What reflection of the Father do they see through you?
- Your brother,