Good Morning Brothers…
This past Thanksgiving, my oldest daughter brought home 6 international students for a traditional American Thanksgiving celebration. Not being sure what that means, I took the 3 boys hunting and trapping. The day they arrived, I thought it would be fun to see if they could hit a plastic bottle with a .12 gauge shotgun from about 20 yards. Sounds simple right…? After teaching them how to hold the gun, load the gun, and where the safety was, I decided to let them shoot. It was interesting to me how awkward they were with a firearm. After blowing holes in the dirt pile, they finally hit the plastic bottle filled with water. I found out that Brazil doesn’t allow firearms and hunting is illegal. How can these young men be held responsible for good shooting form when they come from a culture where shooting is only something they see on TV?
All of this made me think about my 10 year old son who has really good shooting form. He has shot for many years and is in an environment where shooting is part of the culture he is growing up in. However, I would not gift him with a new shotgun at the age of 10 years and point him toward the woods with a pat on the back and tell him to “Have fun.” This would not be the responsible ‘dad’ thing to do. I would need to get my lazy butt up out of my seat and pull on my hunting boots and go with him.
Well…because he is not ready yet. He still needs me to guide him. There are all kind of things that go wrong in the woods. You know…maybe ‘wrong’ is the wrong term, how about ‘unforeseen’. Unforeseen things cause us to pause and question the necessity of our situation. When we are with someone who has been here before, or is experienced in these ‘unforeseen’ things, our questions tend to be about the next action taken, and not about running for home. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Paul says that we are His workmanship. God made us and we reflect our maker. We are created to be ‘Christ like’, or ‘little Christ’s’. God ordained this to be so, before our feet ever hit the ground, that we would have the chance to be filled with His presence and therefore reflect, and project, His presence onto those people around us. This is a rather ‘unforeseen’ thing from the perspective of a human but a ‘foreseen’ thing from the perspective of the Almighty. This is the reason for ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. The ‘good guys’ living in such a way that the very thing that makes them ‘good’ convinces the ‘bad guys’ that they want to be ‘good’ too. This only works if the ‘good guys’ are living victoriously, or not running for home. I like how the Bible spells this out in 1 John 5:4-5, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Also in Romans 8:35-37, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
The two Apostles spell out the victory of the Christian life with this word – FAITH. Despite the troubles of life, despite the ‘unforeseen’ things, still serving, still loving, still conquering, no matter what…kind of faith.
I’ve got to tell you, I still see a lot of Christians who don’t appear to being living out their faith victoriously. So…what gives? Is belief in Christ not enough? Is repeating the sinner’s prayer, giving your life to Jesus, being baptized, not enough to live victoriously? Actually…this may be a bad question. To answer it with a “No” is to not put enough emphasis on the victorious work of Jesus on the cross. To answer it with a “Yes” is to leave Christians in lives filled with guilt and remorse. So…how do we answer the question?
Seriously…I know where I want to go with this question, but I want to read your answer to this question. You know how to leave me a comment…lets see how your ping-pong balls are bouncing.