Monday, April 30, 2007

what next?

The work of God in Christ among his people and in each of us is multifaceted. There is much more going on than meets the eye in the change that we are undergoing into Christlikeness.

But I would like to suggest in this that in our own participation we're to work on one thing at a time. So that one of our prayers along the way could be, "What's next, Lord?" Could it be more than one thing in the course of a day? Of course, I would say, though I would tend to look at each of these as a project that is more than likely worked out and in which we're "confirmed" over time.

We need to think more in terms of community as to this question, because even when we're thinking about needed change in our own life, it is best worked out in the context of other brothers and sisters in Christ. We are after all one in Christ, and his Body together. And oftentimes we'll find that the issue we face concerns another brother or sister. And that this concern, while addressing one particular issue that we may not be doing well in, ends up changing us to be a different person when it's all said and done. Yes, it will be incremental and seemingly small. The picture of real and ongoing change.

Confessing sins appropriately and dealing with bad attitudes are not merely to fix a problem, but end up being "means of grace" or "sacramental" in making us holy, more like Jesus. In this sense we're apprentices. We're learning to be like the Master.

"What next?" should be our humble prayer. We may justify certain behavior but deep inside know better. Let's work on that. Oftentimes when we see a number of problems in our lives, they end up being related to one issue that we may not be doing well in. God can help us get to the root of it, and get rid of that bitter or poisonous root, before it is the ruin or hurt not only of our own lives, but the lives of many others.

Let's seek God's face on this. And ask him to show us what needs next to be addressed in our lives. Than together, with him, let's work on that. So that we can be his clean vessels to give his light and life to a lost and dying world.

What comes to your mind from your reading of Scripture and/or experience in this? And I don't mean to get us bogged down in this being all there is to living as Christians. I understand this as one facet of it, to be sure.


Ted Gossard said...

I can imagine that some would call this an unhealthy analytical exercise OR some form of legalism or whatever.

In thinking more about it I believe it's a part of working out our salvation with fear and trembling. And to acknowledge that we do have individual, personal issues. Yet those issues need to be addressed in the context of dependence on God and interdependence on the people of God, in Christ.

So I don't back down at all from this post. I can't brush aside areas that I believe I need to work on. At the same time, again, this is only one aspect of what it means for us to follow Christ.

And the "what's next?" does not mean this is all that I do, from one thing to the next. It's just having an openness to correction and becoming more like Christ in areas in which we know we need growth.

L.L. Barkat said...

I like the idea of asking "what's next?" In fact, I am in a time of asking that right now. This Christian life is never finished with us, is it...

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Thanks. You can probably tell I'm not a finished product at times, but that goes without saying for all of us, of course.

I do want to be open to seeing things in a better way.