Thursday, August 2, 2012

What makes me a good steward of my belief...

A friend asked today: "I would like for you all to weigh in on what makes anyone a good steward of their belief."  This is a really good question.  The verse that immediately came to mind is this: 

"I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."  II Timothy 1:12  (it's even a song...that's why I have it memorized in King James--Sorry for the antique language.)

To me, being a good steward of Biblical Christianity is pretty well summed up in this verse:

  1. I know the One I have believed.   I also know He is Holy and I am not. I cannot live up to His standard of Holiness any more than I could jump the Grand Canyon. I am not worthy of being in relationship with Him but He has made a way.  Therefore, I know Him more intimately than I know my own husband and He knows me even more intimately than that.  My stewardship involves daily, consistently cultivating that relationship by seeking Him for myself. 
  2. I am pursuaded He is able.  I have seen by experience that He is trustworthy.  I continue to choose to trust Him.  I am also pursuaded that I am not able.  No good works of mine could erase my inability to be fit to be in relationship with Him without something to bridge that gap.  I don't just feel guilty.  I am culpable before a living God who has the right to demand of me complete perfection to be in His presence.
  3. He is able to keep all that I have committed unto Him.  Since I cannot remedy this predicament, I have committed myself and my fate to His remedy.  To the best of my ability, I have committed all I have and am to His Lordship.  I am a part of His Kingdom because I choose for Him to be King in all of my affairs.
  4. Against That Day.  There is a day for which I have had good reason to be afraid.  One who loves infinitely is also infinitely injured by the abuses I have caused to those He loves.  True love requires justice.  I should be held accountable for that which I have done that isn't consistent with His love for others--even if it's just missing the mark.  That is the definition of sin--missing God's mark.  Biblical Christianity recognizes this.  The fair wages to be paid for sin are death (I John 1:9).  I was created to be in relationship with God and my snubs of Him and His standards are worthy of death.  Jesus had no penalty to pay for himself and was therefore able to pay the wages for what I have done, along with the rest of humanity.  It is a free gift and includes both eternal life and adoption into His own family.  Of course, as a part of the family, there are house rules--some of which I can't yet keep--but I deeply want to.  As a dearly loved child, I desire to become like my beloved Daddy.  I obey out of profound gratitude for all He has done for me.   Obedience is only possible because He has given His own Holy Spirit to write His law on my heart in the context of an ongoing intimate relationship.  I do have the option to follow the poem Invictus, choosing to be the "master of my own fate", and God will allow that choice.  He will not force Himself on us.  He has created a place where He Is Not for those who want to be their own masters, but it is described as burning with the intensity of brimstone.  It is a place of intense lack, need and unfulfilment.  What else could it be since God is the source of all generosity, provision and good?  If it is true that we were created to be in relationship with God it also means being infinitely thwarted in the very purpose for which we were made.  It is, by definition, a lonely, selfish place created for demons who, after having seen an infinitely good God, have chosen their way over God's way. 
 This is the core of Christianity.  Being a steward of that belief means recognizing the free will of all men and the infinite workings of a soverign, fore-knowing God.  It means doing my best in the power of the Holy Spirit to give everyone I know the opportunity to see the nature of the created universe from the perspective of its Creator who is also my friend. 

It is the default position of the human heart to choose our own way rather than His way, particularly if His way hasn't been made clear and we don't understand the consequences of our own way.  Unencumbered by the facts, our own ideas seem right.  A disabled child might just think she can fly off her 3rd floor AC unit if she doesn't realize the laws of gravity will cause her pain when she hits the ground.  The law of gravity wasn't at fault and wasn't going to change just because she didn't understand it.  Thankfully, Jesus came to catch us, just like the bus driver who caught that little girl and suffered great injury in the catch.  It is their own choice to recognize the laws of the Creator or choose to see only themselves as the final accountability in their world.  Ironically, I don't know anyone who can even live up to their own standards, much less God's.   

People see it as proselytizing. I see it as reality check.  I hope that helps.

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