Thursday, 26 June 2014
There's a key to living as a Christian. Deliberate Purpose.
We need to make a conscious choice to live every day in a way fitting someone who claims Christ as their Saviour. It's the problem of being a living sacrifice - we do keep crawling off the altar at any given chance we have. Living sacrificially is often a traumatic experience.
We need to live deliberately.
Deliberate living requires the conscious choice to stay on the altar. We need to make this choice.
The sacrifice we need to make is the sacrifice of Self over God. When we choose our selves over Christ we actually choose the enemy. Our selfish desires, when not quashed, will have a negative effect on our ability to walk in a Christian way.
Christian life is hard, in case we need reminding. It's often easier in the short term to just do what we want and "go with the flow" of our wants. If we've not made the deliberate intent to follow Christ sacrificially on a daily basis then we fail miserably in the long term.
Living a deliberate life is very similar to living a purposed life. It requires effort to maintain momentum and there are times of deep pain and struggle. Time will pass whether you choose to deliberately act or not. As time passes, opportunities change and fade. Some return, just in other forms. When I first felt God telling me to write the internet was in its infancy and "blogging" didn't exist yet. I had an Atari ST computer with no internet connection. In fact I only knew one person who had internet - and that was because he was a computer programmer.
Writing for an audience seemed impossible. I dabbled a little, but eventually I stopped and moved away to other ideas. But my heart kept coming back to writing, and computers became more common. So I began to write again and eventually created this little blog. Now over 4000 times people have logged in to see what's written here from countries I'd never dreamed anything I had to say could reach! I was tricked into looking at myself instead of at God, and as a result I was conned out of writing as He had intended for my life for the better part of 20 years. Even now, writing is a battle. I find it hard to concentrate for the time it takes to write. The doctors (who seem to enjoy titles and names) call it Attention Deficit Disorder - ADD. It's the thing they give children ritalin for at school and 25 years ago was known as "he can't be bothered" or "he's too lazy" or "he just daydreams". I got tired of wanting to be able to do what I felt God called me to do but not being capable of following through on it. I went to this doctor, and until such time as my faith matures I now have some tablets that help me concentrate for longer periods of time without turning me into the Terminator in my own home (which the first ones did).
So I write. I submit articles to magazines for publication - no replies so far, but as Churchill said "Never give up! Never give up! Never!" So I will keep sending off ideas and articles and book summaries. I know when I get the right one that the door will fly open and I'll be suddenly catapulted into the direction I should be moving in. But it means living deliberately.
It means facing rejection and success with equal resolve. One rejection does not make an end of a career as a writer any more than one article pubished makes a writer able to quit his day-job. My style is less formal than some magazines like. It's a lot less formal than many book publishers like. But it's what I like to read, and there's a lot of me in my writing. If you took the time to read everything on this blog you'd have a decent idea of the man I am, not only by what I say, but by what I omit and how I say it.
I've been described as conservative, liberal, charismatic, stoic, evangelical, staid and corsetted at various times in my Christian walk. I was born again - deliberate choice - in a Church of England church in Stamford, Lincolnshire in November 1985 and I told precisely noone. Starched ruffs, cassocks and albs. I was a chorister, then a server - the C of E answer to an Altar boy - until the age of 19. I moved away and took time out of church, then joined the local chapter of the Full Gospel Business Man's Fellowship International. I was spiritually so far out of my depth the first time I heard speaking in tongues and prophecy that I was bewildered. But I lived deliberately and kept going back. The first time I gave a prophecyt was in one of those meetings, and it scared me silly. "What if I'm wrong?" "What if it's just me?" All the normal doubt questions were shattered when one of the men responded in tears that it was exactly the answer to prayer he'd been seeking and what he needed to hear.
But it took a deliberate act to give it to him.
Currently I'm between churches. I read a lot, and I sing alone, but I maintain fellowship with other believers, just not on a Sunday in a formal setting. Sometimes over coffee in the local cafe. Sometimes as I give them a lift or vice-versa. Fellowship is central to my life, and always has been, but I do long to be in a church again - I just prefer smaller congregations with sound doctrine. Recent churches have been so large - great teaching, but massive crowds - that I feel lost in the sea. The smaller churches I visited were not centred on God. Trying to find the balance has been tricky. I've been Anglican, Baptist, United Reformed, New Frontiers, and independant local. The tricky part is always making sure I'm where I feel I'm supposed to be.
So for now - deliberately - my focus is on my family and my fellowship. Formal "church" will come later.
I seek each day to deliberately live for Christ. To be His voice and hands. It's not easy as I get in the way, but I try.
I'll put Christian music on, listen to a sermon or two and try to seek what God's plan for the next day is in the evening as I settle into bed. If I can't sleep I come out to my computer and write for half an hour or so. Then sleep comes easily as the enemy would rather see me asleep than writing. Either way, I win!
Live deliberately. Choose wisely.
Be decisive - cut off all other ideas once you know you've found what God has made you for.
And live it to the fullest, deliberately, every day.