Saturday, October 27, 2007

what's wrong with this picture?

We may not like it, but I believe we live in an existence and time when we'll have to be grappling with this question: What's wrong with this picture? Now we don't need to have a half-empty attitude or be always looking for problems and short-comings in others. But just the same, we have to be awake to reality, and it must begin with reference to our own lives.

I say this in terms of my personal life, of where I'm at in relationship to God and to my neighbor. In regard to any issues in my heart and life. To pooh-pooh this is to short-circuit much of what we find in Scripture. There's no getting around it. Not only will we have to ask this question at times about ourselves, but in a sense we're going to need to keep it in view all the time.

We're also going to have to ask this question about our fellowships and communities, and I think here in terms of faith communities. Here we must be careful not to project our own issues on others. And we must be prayerful and seek to see everything with much grace, while at the same time not being blind to the "big elephant" that's always in the middle of the room. All of this takes alot of prayer and reading of Scripture, as well as perhaps asking questions and listening well, whenever we may be concerned about anything.

Then we go to the world at large. As we pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," we must be sensitive to critique it so as to be a part of God's will being done here. This is in the sense of building it up, but in so doing, we may have to be a part of a tearing down process before new structures can be built in their place. We need discernment to know what we should do and how we should live in our contemporary present.

So let's seek God and his discernment for our situations, place and time. So that by God's grace we can begin to see more and more God's hand in the picture, so as to see what's right, and keep working in Jesus to that end, as well as to deal with what is not. And let's not forget to be prayerfully asking this question, looking first and foremost at ourselves.

8 comments:

Kim said...

This is in the sense of building it up, but in so doing, we may have to be a part of a tearing down process before new structures can be built in their place.

I find myself in this position right now, and I'm really not enjoying it one bit.

NaNcY said...

since my last few posts, this is really speaking to me. i feel a need to question and act, but, in so doing i realise the absolute need to be doing God's will in the timing and way of God...not mine. so it is like making my way through a mine field if i am not asking the questions of God first and listening to THe Spirit first. if i do not do this i see that i go of my own will and nothing gets accomplished that is of God. they can be seen as good intentions, but, they are my intentions or worldly intentions that may be a distraction from the will of God.

i am learning that i must be careful of who is doing the leading and of who i follow.

Anonymous said...

Just yesterday I bought Jerry Bridges book, RESPECTABLE SINS-Confronting the Sins We Tolerate . I have read the first three chpts. OUCH! We love to talk about the "other guy" and his sin but fail to examine our own hearts. I highly recommend the book for those really ready to do some housecleaning...and deal with our own issues before worrying about the "other guy."

Charity Singleton said...

Ted -- In a sin-filled world, I think we can ask this question about any situation in our lives. And it's a good evaluation tool in a lot of ways. But I like your emphasis on what's right with the picture too. I think this is what redemption is all about.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kim,
I know what you mean. When you have to get in there and do something or deal with something, it really is no fun.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Good thoughts. Yes, it is so easy to be led by our own emotions or our own thoughts rather than be settled into an affirmative sense that this is God's will.

I think it's best to take it slow with prayer, but not to let it go because it will ordinarily just linger and fester and become worse. At least ongoing prayer.

And there are times we have to make our best decision over prayer and time, and be willing to adjust and go with God's will in the process- I think.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Anonymous,
Jerry Bridges is a good writer and I'm sure the book is sound and helpful. Thanks. And good point.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Charity,
Thanks. Good point.

Yes, God is at work too, and we need to look for that everywhere as well (through prayer and through insight from God).