Thursday, September 07, 2006


Yesterday those of us here on the Masters courses enjoyed a few hours together thinking and praying through some issues for the coming year's study. We were encouraged to think about our strengths and weaknesses, and particularly the sorts of things which get in the way of our doing the things we should be. We were then encouraged to make resolutions. In case these are helpful / encouraging / challenging / thought-provoking, here are mine:

1) Put being a disciple first and foremost.
The greatest barrier to any part of my Christian life is a weak or distant or un-prioritised relationship with God. So I need to put this top of any list. Living at the cross and resurrection is the nuclear power plant in the submarine of Christian existence as we fight the fight of faith. Time away from the cross and resurrection, away from prayer & meditation just cools down those reactor rods. Resolved: prioritise discipleship over everything else.

2) Do no more than God has equipped me to do, and that I can enjoy by faith with prayer.
This is hard because I've spent much of my life trying to do more than I should - or be more than I am - in my own strength. I've been (horrible thought) too busy to pray. What rubbish - it just means that I was too busy! (Read Tim Chester's book, which I've summarised and reviewed here, if this is a thing for you.) This means I'll have to do less, and have to say 'no' to some massively great & tempting things; it'll make my decisions even harder, but my life much more pleasing to the only One who really matters.
This was something I really struggled with particularly in my first year. I went to Spring Harvest Word Alive that year almost at the end of my tether. All that I thought I'd learnt at college was that I couldn't do Greek, couldn't do Hebrew, wasn't great at Systematics, was rubbish at writing essays, couldn't preach, etc, etc... So I went to Word Alive praying for some help, and on the last night the preacher used this illustration:

A young boy asks his father for some money because it is his dad's birthday in a few days, and he wants to get him a present. The father then passes over a £5 note to his 10-yr-old son. What does that man expect when he opens his present? Certainly not a £50 watch, nor a £15 book (nor, obviously, a 50p bar of chocolate). All he wants to see is something nice & thoughtful worth a fiver.

You are the boy; the father is God. What does he expect from you? Only to do what he has enabled you to do - no more (and no less).

Will you learn, with me, to get to the end of a long day and instead of pushing on with energy you don't have, to turn to God and say: 'Father, I think I've given you back your fiver today' and then relax?

HT Fieldy for (under God) leading us so well and devotionally through yesterday's Masters session.

I pray God continues to teach me to live these things...


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