Neil - Changes and Growth

Growing and Discerning...After the Heart of God

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Refrigerator Faith


You know, just to start off with a random thought I heard today. How often do we in our lives have "a refrigerator Bible?" You know, the type of Bible where, ya know what, I know if I eat when I need it, I'll be fine. I know I'm supposed to feed from it every once in a while, not all the time, but just enough to tie me over until the next time?? I've been, AT BEST, this good many times in my life. Think about it. I bet MOST Christians have this type of a Bible, myself included. Then, when we finally do get to the refrigerator, what do we do? We open it up, we grab the leftover Stouffer's Lasagna(It's always better the 2nd day), we grab the cake...we grab the good stuff. We don't grab the raw liver, or the pig's feet, or the mayonnaise that has been in the fridge so long its beginning to grow fur. We grab what we know is good - what we know will satisfy us.

How many times do we do this in life? How many times do we do this with the Bible? We stick to what works. We look for the verses about love, and encouragement. We stick to the New Testament - why? Because its awesome stuff! We know it! we know God promises us these things, and we never get tired of hearing it. That's all great, it really is. I do it ALL the time. But what about the rest of the story? What about the chicken liver? what about that maynnaise? It's in the fridge for a reason right....Don't we owe it to ourselves, and to God, to see what it has to offer??

Now I am not of course suggesting we eat the mayonnaise with the fur - in fact, I hate all mayonnaise, but you get my point. I want to find out what it has to offer...I HAVE to find out what it has to offer, what the connections are. Sort of hit home yesterday doing some reading:

Gen. 45:4-8

"Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt."(from BibleGateway.com)

Old Testament. The stuff we know, the stuff we rarely view as other than a story, but here's what jumped out at me. Joseph says here "It was not you who sent me here, but God." Josephs brothers, his flesh and blood, turned his back on him, or even worse, abandoned him, by selling him into slavery. And after all that time, when facing his brothers, what did he do? If you know my brother you know darn well what I'd do. I'd come out swining most likely - the Years of anger growing inside me(watering the 'wrong' parts of my life - see yesterday's post). But Joseph said "God did this to me, not you." What if we viewed everything every person does to us in our lives as God doing it to us? What if God said we let him down? What if God yelled at us for wrecking our car when we were teenagers? What if Jesus himself were the person we were holding resentment towards because of something they did to us 5 years ago? How crazy is that. I don't know about you, but for me, it would be gone in an instant. How could I ever be mad at Jesus for doing ANYTHING to me after all of the things I have done to him through my sin?
But that is essentially what it is. We always preach and know that God is in control:

"Everything in the heavens and the earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything...your hand controls power and might and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength" - 1 Chron 29:11-12

So this we know is true, so essentially isn't it God himself doing the things around us? Building us up, breaking us down? I am challenging myself to look at my life this way anytime I get sinful feelings towards circumstances around me. Rather than asking God "Why are you doing these horrible things to me Lord(or fill in the blank with the name of a...let us say brother =))" we can ask "Lord Break me so you can build me up again." It's really an amazingly intuitive way of thinking about circumstances around us...I hope that I can only have of the insight Joseph had, so I may recognize similar situations, no matter how minor they may seem.
Again, its not what I write on here which is important - it is the way I LIVE MY LIFE that is the most important...let me not forget this.

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