Friday, June 12, 2009

Hearers and Doers

Don’t get side tracked. That is my word for today.

Luke 11:27 and 28, NRSV, “While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

I really love this woman. You can tell that she is one that makes good comfort food for all of the church potlucks. Her mind is thinking about how proud Mary must be of this boy. Mary is blessed for having done such a fine job in raising the Savior of the world (She has a southern accent in my head). As women, we can appreciate this train of thought. You go Mary!

Apply brakes here…Jesus, less amused probably, brings it back down to earth really quick. He actually corrects her publically and says, in a nut shell, ‘don’t get side tracked’. I am such a side tracker. I struggle to keep myself on point. I can walk across the house and do fifteen things, but forget why I went there in the first place. I return to my place of origin and start all over again. This can go on for hours, especially during a quiet time.

We can make our spirituality about so many things. How about, we can make it about how we feel about the commandments of God? These are easy distractions as women. We place our feelings in a role over scripture, kind of like some authority to check it against…very dangerous. These can be nuanced, so we really have to pray about these deceitful little boogers. I have seen some amazing justifications come from how, “I just don’t feel that God wants me to…”, even if it is required from everyone else. I have heard this applied to everything from prayer to living together, and marriage, especially marriage.

I have done my share of it, too. I am embarrassed to tell you the qualities that I have superimposed on God, because I feel like, “He would feel like I do, if He were here”. Psalm 50:21, NRSV, “These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one just like yourself. But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.” Ouch…and He has rebuked me, more than once. Our feelings can be such a liability.

Here is a great one. We can make our spirituality about our quiet times with God. If women spent as much time with God as they did scheduling it in and/or feeling guilty about it, we would have a powerful presence in this world. I am in that group. Only with the onset of this blog are my quiet times do or die, same time every day and a similar process. I moved them around before, according to my schedule, and I have found that now I don’t worry about them at all. They have to happen before I write a word.

Jesus makes it really simple. He says to Proud Mama in those verses, ‘You are missing the point. Stay with me here. Don’t get side tracked.’ We are surrounded by ways to make our relationship with Christ about spirituality and not about Him. We can read books about Him and have small groups, but nothing is a substitute for hearing the word of God (since He is not physically present, we have to pick up those bibles, ladies) and doing what it says.

I gave these verses to the high school girls group as they went out on their own for the summer. James 1:22-25, NRSV, “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.”

We are the greatest deceivers. We will look at the truth in the mirror for a while before we realize that we are in trouble. The inactivity of last year’s back surgery and the recovery through this year was fine for a while, but let me tell you that things have reached crisis mode in the mirror. My body does not look the same as it did before. I looked at it for a while, saying, “Hmmm. That is looking a little loose”. Then I had THAT DAY, when I realized that I have to do something about this. I could deny the truth no longer. My deceitful problem took place when I looked away from the mirror. I would simply resume eating my chocolate trifle. I did not want to do the strict workout thing/eating responsibly…and oh, how painful it is now. But we have to do it. There comes a point when you realize that you know the truth. I am the only one that can do anything about my dimply thighs!

I also am the only one that can decide that although obedience WILL mean that I will do things that I am not comfortable with, it is the word of God and I trust Him. I KNOW that it is true. My faith stands on the word of God. It is a non-negotiable. I do not have the right to pick and choose or to create my own agenda. It stands as is, without my help, without my brain, and without my feelings. I know that. So today when I look away from the mirror, what will I choose? Chocolate trifle or firmer thighs? Oh God, let me put down the trifle today! Will I choose to be a hearer only, or a doer, also? Don’t be deceived these are both questions of will. It might even be easier to set down the trifle. Let’s not get side tracked from obeying Him, today.

Father thank you for your grace filled faithfulness. Forgive us where we have ever stood in judgment of your word. Let us make firm decisions on obeying You and Your word today.

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