May 21, 2016

Radical Lessons

A few weeks ago I said to a friend that I trusted God to take care of my finances. She replied that it was still important to make sensible choices.

I didn’t ask what was meant by sensible, but that remark stuck in my mind. Sensible, in the mind of human beings, could mean one of two extremes.

The first one is thinking like the world thinks; ‘but I must live; I must make so much money; I must be clothed; I must be fed.’ The greatest concern is taking care of ourselves and making whatever choices seem reasonable toward that end. I could include: following the advice of investment gurus, becoming educated in the stock market so as to buy/sell at the right time, at so on.

The other extreme follows what Jesus said in this radical advice about how to take care of our physical and financial needs . . .

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

He tells me to make the kingdom of God the greatest concern of my life. If I am rightly related to God, I will be trusting Him to take care of me.

“Do not be anxious for your life” (verse 25, 34) does not mean a carefree and blank mind. That would make me a simpleton. It does mean not to be anxious, brood, moody, worried either. As God takes care of sparrows and the lilies of the field, so He takes care of me. I can be carefree as those birds and flowers.

Does this mean money will drop into my lap? Sometimes. Does this mean the Lord will give wisdom in spending and investment? Yes, if I am willing to listen. But if my focus is on food, drink, and clothing, and in making all the right choices without considering how those choices will affect my spiritual life and relationship with God, I can expect the fruit of it — errors, ulcers, and a continual nagging anxiety that robs me of the joy of life.

Yet Chambers points out that some people are careless over what they eat and drink and other earthly affairs. This is not what God means about being carefree. He holds me responsible for carelessness. (Been there, done that.) It is far better to make my relationship with Him the number one concern of life and go to Him regarding all responsibilities. That is being sensible, but it is not error-proof. However, at least I can bring my errors to Him. He forgives willful mistakes, but not only that, He can use them for my good, to make me more like Jesus.

“ . . . for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son . . . (Romans 8:28–29)

The promise is also radical — because it says “all things” and that includes my bad choices. The errors and mistakes in themselves are not good, but in loving God and making Him and His kingdom the priority of my life, I put myself in a place where He can take those all things and use them as a blessing. In that blessing, He is able to change my life to be more like His.

This is radical too. As Chambers says, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me how to apply His radical truths is one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life. 

Personal note: After an exam on Thursday, I was told not to be surprised if my heart reverted to a normal beat by itself. To the heart specialist, it ‘sounded’ as if it would.

Last night, I was having trouble sleeping because my pulse was too fast, with blips. At one point while being hugged by dear hubby, my chest went ‘thump’ and my pulse slowed down. The blips lessened, and I fell asleep. This morning, my pulse is almost normal.

What is God doing? I’m not sure, but as I loafed in bed this morning, I began thinking how even the ‘bad’ stuff in my life has been intended by God as a blessing, just as He said in Romans 8:28-29. This would require a book to explain, but I wondered if it required an A-fib episode to get me to slow down long enough so He could put that wonderful and radical thought deeper into my head and heart.

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