Ironically I am not talking about Christmas, although what I am pondering is related – closely. Life throws many different things and experiences at you. I would have to say that I have not experienced anywhere close to the harsh or tragic things others I know are dealing with or have had to deal with just to survive.
Have I had a easy life? No, I don’t think so, but everything becomes very relative quickly, and really it is not a contest. What I do know is that being able to go through life with others and do more than survive, indeed to thrive and grow, is a blessing.
Now you do get into the issues of what is surviving, growing etc., but I think if you read this blog at all you realize that, although I may struggle with materialism and the like, I uphold the ways of God as the ideal, and try to follow what the Bible teaches in that regard.
The mystery is in this. The Bible is simple enough that a young child can grasp and believe its fundementals, but complex enough to keep one pondering its meaning for a lifetime. Moreover, it seems as we get older, living those fundementals becomes more difficult to do, not easier. And yet, the basic concept never changes. Truth about life and its “keys” are given to us through the Bible. Christians believe that the Bible is the supernatural (although strikingly simple by today’s standards) method by which the Creator of the universe has revealed everything we need to know to survive this chapter of existence. 1 Peter 1:3
What strikes me as most important as a person who believes in Jesus and in God (Yahweh, the name that the Bible uses to describe the God of Israel) is that I live a life that is defined by my submission (a dirty word today) to what the Bible teaches. A life that truly seeks to learn what the Bible says, to do what the Bible says and to teach others what the bible says. That progression can be seen well in the life of a teacher of Israel from the old testament times Ezra. Ezra 7:10
I think the opposite is true as well. It is important not to be defined, if one calls oneself a Christian, by thoughts, actions or proclamations that do not help others see the truth of the Bible more clearly. In the end, too much time spent on ideas or thoughts not aimed at doing what the Bible teaches as the keys to life is simply a waste of time.
Living a life akin to that of Ezra harvests a God honouring crop as it were. That is a narrow focus I admit, and one which I am striving to regain. Simple, focussed and true. It is hard to vacate the mind of the wisdom of this world which can seem all too enticing and logical in favour of the wisdom that is contained in the Bible. 1 Cor 1:20 All to often techniques and thoughts that the world reveres are the exact opposite of what the Bible would teach.
The simple focus is that success will come with a life lived in the truth of what the Bible teaches. John 17:17 Jesus was clear on that. Success of course looks very different than what the world thinks is successful. That concept is true, but very unpopular, cliche, unrealistic and trite to many. But it is a simple truth to dwell on and study. Look at Matthew 5: 1-13, Jesus’ teaching is simple but completly counter to every human instinct it would seem. I am looking forward to preaching on that Dec 31.
So what is so interesting about this season? Well at a time when I could wrongly try to conjure up all that I think is right by the standards of this world to aid in succeeding in the eyes of many who may be watching, I am prfoundly pleased that I don’t have to rely on my own wisdom, or the wisdom of other men, but to jointly rely with other trusted friends on the wisdom of God to stay focused on this simple truth: I need to learn more of what the Bible teaches, do more of what the Bible teaches and teach others more of what the bible teaches everyday. There may be other strategies out there, but I think that is a simple way of describing what Jesus would have us do for life. John 8:31.