Rev Dwight Fletcher | Called to run
Our recent National Heroes’ Day celebration is a reminder that our individual actions can mean so much more. Individuals like Paul Bogle, George William Gordon and Sam Sharpe felt the call of God on their lives strongly enough to step outside of their ironic ‘comfort zones’ and make a difference in their generation. But does God still call people to make such a difference?
Hebrews 12:1 (KJV) says “… let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” All Christians are called to run. And in living in a world that doesn’t share our values, the book of Daniel provides a good guide as to how to run. From Daniel, we can conclude that God’s call on our lives is one of non-negotiable faith. But while we know what is required, we also need to know how to run.
The Word of God challenges us to consider where we are and gives us God’s target for us. When we recognise we are not where we should be, it is usually because we are not overcoming in the areas of challenge in our lives. The truth is that, as Christians, we have two sets of desires that are warring inside us: the desires of the flesh (sinful nature) and the desires of the Spirit (doing the will of God).
This is normal, Paul writes: “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Romans 7:21-23 (NIV)
Many times when the Word comes, it exposes our vulnerable areas and causes conviction and guilt to enter our thoughts and hearts. We need to respond but don’t know how, though we want to please and draw close to God. Most times, the automatic response is a set of dos and don’ts, a rules-based reaction. We enter into a legalistic mode which seems perfectly logical because we live in a rules-based world. Everybody has rules - schools, workplaces, homes, even churches.
The following passage challenges this response. “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Colossians 2:20-23 (NIV)
We move ahead with these ideas because we want to please God and draw close, but we end up with a set of rules that place us in a straightjacket. In the end, we find ourselves bound, with the joy of the Christian walk and the joy of the Lord nowhere to be found. We then become frustrated because it’s not working the way it should. It seems good and people may even applaud us, but our success is based solely on our ability to maintain the tension, and has the tendency to make us proud and puffed up because it is “I” who would have done it.
So, if this is not the correct response, what is? Join us next week as we begin to explore that question.