Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Wisdom is applying what you know.

I love a good argument. I love the thrust, the joust, the clever ducks and dives, the reasoned logic, the sucker punch, the tangents, the curveballs and I love to win.

Sometimes, those drives mean I forget that at the heart of every opponent is someone with a question, a belief, an understanding.. in short there is a person.

I find it very hard not to want to win any discussion I'm in. I want to be understood, validated, listened to. I want to know that I've understood sufficiently to convey a compelling argument to another. In all of this its possible that I want it so badly, that I don't see the affect my drive to convince can have on another.

I recently received a communication from a friend who felt pressurised to make a commitment to Christ. In my desire that no-one should perish, perhaps I forgot that there was a person with genuine concerns, questions and hesitations. It is easy for me to see how it could have happened, though I was oblivious to it (and still I am) as I recall the conversations. - Sure I was excited (new births are sooo exciting) - and I wonder if I really did listen as much as I talked? - Did I get carried away?

Whether I can see it or not, its clear I must have done. - How difficult it is! - Yet how pleased I am that they are saved!

I guess knowing when to speak and when to listen. When to respond and when to stay silent. When to answer and when to leave a question unanswered, is where maturity takes over.

We need to rely on God to do what he does best, reveal himself. Surely if we trusted God, then He would be able to do a much better job than we could do? - For sure he likes to use us, to include us, but he doesn't need us in the same way I need air. - He chooses to need us to fulfil his purpose, to include us in his plans.. - how marvellous that he should choose us at all!?

But its not just in conversation face to face that discipline is required. No, all of our communications should be considered ambassadorial appointments for our king. Every word, whether spoken, written or exemplified in action should be held captive till we are certain we are responding from the heart of God. - What a challenge! - More so for one that loves to explain and convince.

Perhaps the monastic life would have been perfect for me, all that silence! - perhaps in silence I could learn to appreciate the quiet things of God.

Yet God made me noisy!. He made me capable of assimilating information and regurgitating it 'at will'. He made me passionate about explanation of the deep things of life, to enquire about the reason for the hope we profess. - Surely our victorious God would want me to shout and declare the greatness of his works and majesty? Yet, perhaps it is those with humble heart. Pure motives that are best used to declare his Glory? - Those who are gentle in spirit? How much more have I to learn?

God would you grant me the grace to know when to speak and when to be silent. To choose stillness before you than effervescence and noise. Teach me to obey your prompting by the spirit, and help me to do what's required at 'just the right time'. Help me to hold what I know to be true, till the time it can best be used for your purpose and the patience to bite my tongue when I would prefer to argue, choosing to submit to your spirit than to push my heart's desire forward.

Your ways are higher than mine O God, your wisdom far greater.
Speak louder in my ear till I hear your voice stronger.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Sermon application

Sometimes we listen to sermons, and they nourish us at the time, but we don't necessarily recall them from one week to another.

So far this week, what seemed to be a very simple message (parent well and don't have favourites among your children, and in whatever circumstances you find yourself in serve diligently) has been an almost constant conversation with people within and outside of our church family.

On face value, the message seemed simple and obvious, yet it is suprising to me how the truth appears to have impacted some people afresh.

Perhaps its because people have an increased desire to focus on what's more important than the economy (or to escape from it!), or perhaps its because people have got to the stage that they are ready to hear that God wants us to live differently. To live as people with a purpose, to live for him in all we do.

Whatever the reasons, I'm glad for the conversations and glad that people all over the place are stepping up to the responsibility of being parents, and enjoying serving God in the lows as well as the highs.