Thursday, July 05, 2007

Serving "Someone"

Joshua 24:2 (New International Version)
2 Joshua said to all the people, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Long ago your forefathers, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the River and worshiped other gods.

Joshua 24:14-15(New International Version)
14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

One of the books I'm reading at the moment is, A Troubled Faith, by Alan Reynolds. It's a book that gives lots of opportunity to ponder faith--the what and the why and the how of it.

There's a chapter entitled, The God We Want And The God We Need. Alan talks about the incurably religious aspect of mankind and the fact that bad religion results from the tendency to create gods that serve us. These, he says, are the gods we want. They are not the gods we need. He talks about how when we create gods that will serve us, they end up controlling us. How true!

He writes that the final idolatry is when we worship our religion, or have faith in our faith, rather than recognizing that God is always more than our conception of God.

We must beware of creating a god in our image rather than being conformed to his image. There are so many passages in scripture that, if we truly read with eyes and heart and soul open, will challenge and convict us of our pale faith and the fact that we have choices to make--"who" will we serve?

It was interesting to read the retelling of the legend of the ancient kings of Europe, going down into the waters of Christian baptism, holding their sword arm out of the water in a kind of conditional acceptance of Christian faith.

Do I want to be like that? No--I want to be whole-hearted and to have no body, mind or spirit parts held up out of the water--reserved for my own private use. Do I think I'm there? No--my actions and thoughts betray me daily. That is why there is an altar--a place of sacrifice--a place where self can die--one part at a time--until we are wholly his.

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive my many failings. Thank you for your endless love, grace and mercy. Thank you for caring to know us, revealing yourself to us in your Word and in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will purge my view of you from any tendency to make you into the god I want, rather than the God I need.

Matthew 22:36-37 (New International Version)
37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

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