Thursday, July 03, 2008

Chapter 8: Dependant Discipline

They say better late than never...
So here are a couple of points we discussed on Chapter 8: Dependant Discipline.

To Pray and Do
As I read through this chapter, again I felt some familiarity with my time in ‘Charismatic Christianity’. On reflection, maybe I was the ‘spiritual’ person Jerry spoke about on page 132. “Today, we would tend to divide into two camps. The more ‘spiritual’ people would call an all-night prayer meeting. To them, posting a guard would be depending on human effort instead of God.” I often prayed the prayer on page 134 “We often use the expression “Let the Lord live His life through me.” I am personally uncomfortable with this expression because it suggests a passivity on our part. He does not live His life through me. Rather as I depend on Him, He enables Me to live a life pleasing to Him.”

I had even heard people suggest in certain circumstances (especially healing) that it would be a lack of faith, or not trusting God if you did anything other than pray and wait. We sang songs and prayed prayers that pleaded with God to ‘Use me’, ‘Fill me’, ‘Send me’, ‘Make me’. We had ‘faith’ that God would do it. But though we never said it, I think we often thought (or hoped), that he would do it miraculously. That something amazing would happen and we could say ‘It was all God’. “It is the idea that we can do nothing but trust that is particularly troubling to me. I believe that the psalmist – and Nehemiah and Paul – would say, “Man’s part is to trust and work. God’s part is to enable the man or woman to do the work.” … God’s work does not make our effort unnecessary, but rather makes it effective. Paul did not say, “Christ show contentment through me.” Rather he said, “I have learned to be content through Him who give me strength.” Page 135

In the beauty of hindsight I see that God did answer our prayers but the answers usually came through people who were living out their faith, not just praying about it and waiting for God to act.

The results are the Lords
This chapter was a lovely reminder that we must trust and work. It also reminded us through the analogy of the Farmer List of 'must do’s' and 'can’t do’s' that even with all our hard work and obedience, all the results are the Lords. Like the farmers crop, only God can make us grow.
“There are six things farmers must do and only two things they cannot do. They can even to a degree circumvent the weather by irrigating in case of drought. But the one thing they absolutely cannot do is the most critical of all. Without the life that makes things grow, all their disciplines of farming are useless... They will put all their confidence in the performance of their duties, not in God, who makes things grow. As far as they are concerned, their success depends on themselves.
As in the cases of farming, God has ordained certain disciplines or practices that are necessary in order to grow in holiness. We must observe these or we will not grow, just as farmers will not produce a crop if they do not perform their duties. There is only one thing, however we cannot do. We cannot make ourselves grow.” Page 138

Do you take for granted the spiritual life that makes you grow? Is your confidence in God or your own observance of the necessary disciplines and practices or the christian life? We need to be disiplined and dependant.

"Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God's help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christs sake" Jonathan Edwards

No comments: