Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Word-directed living

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:121-144

TO CHEW ON: "Direct my steps by Your word
And let no iniquity have dominion over me." Psalm 119:133

The decision to take direction for our steps — our living — from God's word is a crisis, one-time, turn-in-a-new-direction decision, and a daily decision as we face everyday life.

It's easy to say, yes, I will love my neighbour and forgive my enemy, for example, when all my neighbours are sweet and my enemies are laying low. But try living in a tight suburban cul-de-sac or townhouse complex where neighbours are everywhere. When their kids are playing ball hockey right beside your flower beds, or doing skateboard tricks on the newly laid asphalt, or playing loud music at all hours, or swearing at you when you're on council and it's your responsibility to enforce common property rules, then to direct your steps by God's word becomes a very real moment-by-moment decision. How easy it is to rationalize that its principles are fine in theory but in practice...?

Nancy Pearcey talks about the challenges of living by the truths in the Bible in her book Total Truth:

"For the nonbeliever sitting in the naturalist's chair, all that exists is a closed system of natural causes. The very definition of what counts as knowledge is limited by naturalism and utilitarianism. But for the believer sitting in the supernaturalist's chair, the natural world is only part of reality. A complete perspective includes both the seen and the unseen aspects of reality. Christians are called not merely to assent intellectually to the existence of both parts of reality but also to function practically on that basis. Day by day, they are to make choices that would make no sense unless the unseen world is just as real as the seen world....

It means we sometimes act in ways that seem irrational to those sitting in the naturalist's chair, who see only the physical world. It means we do what is right even at great cost, because we are convinced that what we gain in the unseen realm is far greater than what we lose from a worldly perspective" - p. 361.

When we live by God's word, we acknowledge the reality of that "unseen realm." We live by faith that the kingdom of heaven we've been exploring for the last few days is real and that there are values beyond getting our way, winning the argument, appearing to come out on top, and getting revenge.

PRAYER: Dear God, please make me aware of how Your word applies to my circumstances, and then help me to have the courage, faith, and humility to live by it. Amen.

MORE: More Pearcey:
"Sadly, many Christians live much of their lives as though the naturalist were right. They give cognitive assent to the great truths of Scripture but they make their practical, day-to-day decisions based only on what they can see, hear, measure, and calculate. When confessing their religious beliefs, they sit in the supernaturalist's chair. But in ordinary life, they walk over and sit in the naturalist's chair, living as though the supernatural were not real in any practical sense, relying on their own energy, talent, strategic calculations. They may sincerely want to do the Lord's work, but they do it in the world's way — using worldly methods and motivated by worldly desires for success and acclaim" - Nancy Pearcey in Total Truth, p. 36

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