My all time favourite Christian quote

lewis christianityI think this is my favourite all time quote about the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ, It is from CS Lewis,

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

I might have cited it here before but I think words such as these deserve long, thoughtful consideration.

My worldview, my philosophy of life, my thinking and acting stem from the revelation of God in Christ.

I should note there appear to be two versions of it – the first is quoted as above, the second changes the word Christianity to Christ – having never been a great reader of Lewis (he is fabulous for quoting) I do not know which is accurate, my experience of it came in Denmark 20 years ago when I read it quoted by someone – it works for me with either.

 

Exemplum: Fear of the Lord

DNAFollowing on from yesterdays post I wanted to illustrate how the Spirit and Word of God have chosen to change and shape my spiritual DNA using Bible verses. I would reiterate that these are personal examples which have gone far beyond a call to repentance and into shaping the core of my existence, the cry of my heart, and the life I live, as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The three examples below all come from the lips of Jesus, I can find no better source.

Matthew 12:36 – “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak”

Ouch! I am a man of strong opinions. In the fear of the Lord God has taught me to keep my mouth shut and in so doing to rely upon him much more completely.

Luke 12:21 – “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.”

We live in an age where preachers all over the world are telling Christian believers they should be getting rich, that wealth and possessions are a sign of God’s blessing. This verse seems diametrically opposed to such teaching – disciples are people who are rich to God. After all we are called to be servants of the Master.

Luke 14:33 – “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

Renounce seems a strong word to me. One dictionary I looked it up in suggested the following meanings,

To formally declare one’s abandonment of (a claim, right, or possession)

To refuse or resign a right or position

To reject or abandon (a cause, bad habit, or way of life)

I want to live as a disciple – therefore I have no right to anything, I must be one who renounces all.

801 MEV: Evangelism Section 5, Impartation

Robert E Colemans book The Master Plan of Evangelism is considered a classic and will be the foundation for our teaching on the subject of evangelism.

Section 5 of the class notes are available on Scribd and Slideshare:

801 MEV: Evangelism Sections 5, Impartation

Rewriting your spiritual DNA

DNAReading the bible it is clear that God desires us to walk in the fear of the Lord – it is a regularly used phrase, a quick search on Biblegateway.com reveals 27 occurrences in the ESV and 21 in the NIV.

In Psalm 34:9 David prays that the people might fear the Lord, and then his own prayer seems to get an answer in verses 11-14,

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

Based upon these verses a few years ago I started to ask God to teach me the fear of the Lord. I hoped for some dramatic experience – none came.

But what did happen was that at times as I read the Bible I started to shudder at the power of what was said, of what the Lord asked of his people. For me it went beyond simple conviction of the Holy Spirit, though that happens regularly as God convicts me of sin and hypocrisy in my life.

However, this was a greater, more powerful dimension to the Word of God – within it there was an invitation to enter into God’s presence in a more profound way. Yet the cost of acceptance went beyond that of confessing sin, here there was to be a fundamental rewriting of the DNA of my spiritual experience and hence the way I could be allowed to live my life. God used these times to constrain me into a gloriously simple fear of him that resulted in joyful submission and abundant praise and worship.

I do not profess that all should fear the Lord in this way. I would encourage you to pray,

“Lord teach me the fear of the Lord”

Then stand in awe and see what he will do.

An obvious question

Here is another random thought from the jottings in my journal, it might help as you start the week:

Simply because a question is obvious does not make it invalid. Often the most useful questions in my walk with God are the ones that I should really focus on to develop my walk with the Lord.

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV) is a well known passage.

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

In The Message it speaks of Martha being abandoned and Mary doing what is essential,

As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

There is an obvious question: Are you being distracted from what is necessary?

We are called to a life of devotion before sacrifice.

Do you spend so much time serving that you fail to worship, love and adore Jesus.

Do you know how to worship Jesus on your own – no music, no other people, simply you and your Bible?

In simplicity can you put aside the distractions and do what is necessary?

Can you really worship?