Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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A Bible Hero

We are like a huge boulder rolling down a hill.  Even if it were rolling toward the town, figuring out how to stop it or even to change it's direction would prove a huge challenge.  In physics, this property is referred to as inertia.  Whether an object is at rest or in motion, it resists doing anything different than what it is already doing.

Our lives have their own form of inertia.  Whether our life is good or bad, it is our life and we will fight to protect it from pressures to do anything else.  We find change to be our enemy.  Just ask the person that has ever tried to lose weight or abandon a bad habit, change is hard.

This week, I happened to read the story of Mary's visit from Gabriel.  Here is this young girl that suddenly has an angel show up and tell her that everything in her world is going to turn upside down.  Perhaps the fact that she is young and naive allows her to accept this word without argument, but it her response is truly amazing.

While most of us would be arguing and protecting the status quo, Mary simply says, “I am the Lord's slave.  May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

I have never had the experience of having an angel appear and speak to me.  I recognize that this might be an staggering experience that would shock your system into acquiescing to anything the angel might say (although a page earlier, Zechariah wasn't nearly so accepting), but my previous reactions were frequently not like Mary's.  Even though angels never appeared, I know there have been many times where God has attempted to direct me.

The typical response to God's guidance is to start immediately questioning it.  Right away, we start asking the questions:  Was that really God or just my imagination?  What if I attempt to do what He asked and I fail?  What if doing this makes me look like a fool?

Nearly as quickly as God speaks to us, our fear begins to undermine His direction.  We fear everything about following God's plan.  In no time flat, we have talked ourselves out of going in the direction God had sent us.

Contrast this fear-filled, doubting and resistant approach with Mary's attitude.  While we are in effect telling God, “I refuse to do what you have asked me to do”; Mary said, “I am the Lord's slave.  May it be done to me according to your word.”

We don't really want to tell God to, “Get lost with your dumb ideas about my life” to be obstinate, we do it because we lack faith and trust.  Somehow, we have slipped away from the idea that God is God.  It become easy to start viewing God in the same light that we view an important person, that He would be mostly limited as any human is limited.  We begin to feel that we can't count on him any more than we can count on our politicians to take care of us (after all we are just one of millions).

The idea that we serve a God of unlimited capabilities, much less a God of miracles, has been so largely lost today.  The fact that there is NOTHING that He can't do, just doesn't seem real.  The idea that God reigns over everything is ignored.

When we only have the faith to believe in a pint-sized God, then of course we don't trust Him with our lives.  We are only going to place our trust in a God that is larger and more capable than we are.  Our need, therefore, is to toss out that pint-sized God and replace Him with the real God.  We must replace our convenient, hand-made God with the God we read about in the Bible.

Those miracles of the Bible, they are real.  We've still got the same God that did all those amazing things.  The great heroes of the Bible, they are just plain-old people, just like us.  The only difference between them and us is that they were “the Lord's slave”.

Our faith is fragile and it can get damaged by the world around us.  The world want us to be convinced that Christianity is just a hobby, like collecting coins.  But, the world totally fails to understand that Christianity is really a personal relationship with the almighty king of the universe.  Christianity isn't a hobby or a spare time activity; it is being a servant of our creator, it is submitting control over our life to the One who really knows what is best and can do all things.

Before we will allow ourselves to be, “the Lord's slave”, we must trust Him.  We have to have the faith to look at His word and at what He has done in our own past and to KNOW that He will take care of us.  We need to have a greater desire to be faithful to Him, than our desire to satisfy our own wants.  Before we can give up control to Him, we must know that His direction is better than our own.

The Lord really has the best plan for our lives.  To accept His plan, as Mary did, requires that we have the faith and trust to follow Him.  The challenge comes in when our desires, plans, ideas and dreams don't align with what He wants.  This is where faith and trust come into play.  Do we have the faith to accept that His way is best?  Are we going to trust Him wherever He leads simply because of who He is?

On the one hand, Mary had it easy, because even though the path selected by God was a difficult one, it was done “to her”.  She never had a chance to question and doubt and possibly chicken out.  In our lives, the typical calling of the lord requires us to take action and stay on task, based on nothing but our faith in Him and our trust in Him.

Turn off the faith-crushing words of the world.  Turn on the words of God to inspire our faith.  Make a practice of listening to the Lord and trusting Him with both the small things and even the primary direction of our lives.  He will be faithful and trustworthy.

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