Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Old Familiar Ways

Fall is officially upon us. This is always an exciting time for me. There are many reasons I love it. My birthday, football, deer season and cooler weather are just a few.

I have been going through my deer hunting things. I always pack up most of my hunting equipment so that I can leave to go hunting on short notice or suddenly find some free time. It’s also a good time to make sure I have everything I need and that my camouflage clothing still fits and isn’t too faded.

I can name most of the things that are in my bag. I have a flashlight with fresh batteries, two knives, hand warmers, gloves, cover scent, a face mask, a pen and paper, and various other things that I might need in the woods. I have another bag that just has clothes in it. I make sure I have a warm enough coat and the right boots for whatever the weather is.

My point to this is, that I regularly check my equipment to make sure I am ready for hunting season. Notice that I said “hunting season,” not just one hunt. This means that I need to thoroughly check everything to make sure it is in proper condition for this season. Simply because it worked last year, does not mean that it is good enough for this year.

I believe our lives are similar. Sometimes we rely on old, outdated, worn, or insufficient equipment for our lives. We believe that if it worked before, it will work again. Life does not work that way.

For example, a football team may have great success in one game by running the ball. They may have a great athlete as a running back, who can gain yardage every play. However, the team they play the next week will know that they need to watch that star running back, and zero in on him. Suddenly, the running game is not working anymore.

I have illustrated this many times from the pulpit by, using the various ways Jesus healed the blind. There were many blind people that Jesus healed. However, four occurrences are recorded in scripture with specifics of what method He used. He healed two at once by touching their eyes. One we’re not told how He did it, only that the man was healed. He spit on another man’s eyes to heal his blindness. Jesus simply spoke to Bartimaeus and his eyes were opened. By the pool of Siloam, Jesus spat on the ground, made clay, rubbed it on a man’s eyes and told him to wash in the pool to receive his sight.

The point is, that what worked in the past, may not work now. This is true in life, our Christian walk, and in church. Jesus changed the tone of His messages, the illustrations He used, and the way He healed, based on what would speak best to the people who needed Him.

Maybe it’s time we took inventory of our Christian equipment. Are we relevant to the people who need to hear the gospel the most or are we just taking care to make ourselves comfortable? Is there anything that we need to replace in our lives? Are we as effective in our Christian walk as we once were? Maybe God is leading you to change.

In John 21, we find the disciples fishing. Jesus had risen from the dead, and was standing on the shore. The disciples, who were fishermen by trade, were having no luck pulling in fish. They saw a man on the beach, who was calling to them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. They did not know it was Jesus yet, but what they were doing wasn’t working, so they tried it. When they did, they could barely pull in the nets for the volume of fish. Jesus called them to do something different than they were used to doing, so that he could show them His power, but most importantly, so that God would receive the glory instead of them.

Spend some time in prayer this week, asking God to show you where you need to improve your relationship with Him and be an effective soldier of the cross. Then follow Him with no hesitation!

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NIV)

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