In today’s entry, I’m catching up on our latest series that we are three weeks into, This Matters.
Our introductory message in the “This Matters” series focused out attention on the Bible. The Bible matters. Why?
Historically, it lays the groundwork, not only for our faith but all of civilization. Regardless of your religion, the Bible is regarded as the most historically accurate documentation of its age.
Morally and ethically, the Bible provides us with concrete guidelines for ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Though many have misconstrued God’s precepts while others create new ones in God’s name, the Bible provides a solid foundation for morality and ethics in every aspect of life.
Logically, it lays out the simple design for living in peace with all of humanity and with yourself. When you read scripture; first read it for the literal words, dissect those words within the context they were written, then apply those words to modern day as they can apply to you.
The Bible is not God’s rule book, it is our pathway to knowing Him. The Bible matters.
In week two we focused on prayer. Prayer matters.
Through the Bible, we can know God on a corporate level. Through prayer we connect with God (and ourselves) on a personal level.
Prayer is literally a conversation with God. Prayer is most effective when our hearts are open to let the communication flow both ways. I heard a Rabbi once describe the Jewish perspective of prayer as an introspective assessment of one’s day. Sitting down at the end of the day to inspect every choice you made, then committing to whatever changes that are necessary to become a better person tomorrow. Christians would benefit from incorporating this aspect of prayer into their perspective as well.
God is not a genie, prayer is not a wish list. Submit your requests to God, but take an honest account of where you require improvement.
Prayer holds you in community with God. Prayer matters.
Stepping into week three, the things that matter have been fairly personal in their application. The Bible matters, I need to read the Bible. Prayer matters, I need to pray. Today has more public ramifications, community.
Community matters because life is not designed as a solo endeavor. God designed us as interdependent beings. One person’s weakness is matched by another’s strength. Our misguided focus on self breaks the bonds of unity and leaves us vulnerable. I enjoy National Geographic, Discovery, and PBS for their nature programming. Nearly every episode set in Africa includes a Lioness hunting a pack of Gazelles. The Lioness quietly spies on the unknowing Gazelles as they graze, strategically picking out the slowest and weakest of the pack for her family’s dinner. When the attack begins, the Gazelles scatter. The target tries to keep up but, for whatever reason, is separated from the pack and is overtaken by the Lion in the open field. We are the Gazelle, our Enemy prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Much like there’s no ‘I’ in team, there’s no community without ‘you’. Dying to self is not a mandate to make yourself a door mat, it is the open door to embrace life. Tear off your armor of ‘self’ to open the pathway to community. Letting go of your needs creates opportunity for needs to be filled.