I once heard a pastor say that anytime you read the Bible and you come across something Jesus said to do that you should make every effort to do it right away. That way you do not get into the habit of just reading the Bible without actions. Francis Chan compared it to asking his daughter to clean her room. He said it wouldn't matter if she came back to him an hour later and said, “check this out dad, I totally learned what you asked me to do listen, “Please go clean your room’” but hadn't actually cleaned it. He wouldn't be okay if she got a bunch of friends together to study about what it would look like for her to clean her room and he wouldn't care if she could say it in both the Hebrew and the Greek. What he asked was for her to clean her room, so the only thing that would matter is that she did it. That seems so silly but it also seems to perfectly fit the world we live in right now. We have easy access to the Words of Jesus and we memorize them and we study them (both important to do) but if we do not actually do them then it is all meaningless.
Right now I am smack in the middle of reading 2 books that have me wrestling with these thoughts. One is Multiply by David Platt and Francis Chan. It is a great book because it gets to your heart and questions your motives on living as a Christian and reaching out to others. It asks you questions and makes you think about the fact that Jesus very clearly said to “go make disciples” and yet so very few Christians do. When you ask me, “what would it be like to stand before Jesus and tell Him that you didn't do something He very clearly commanded in Matthew 28?” it really makes me think! I pray I don’t have to find out because I am making choices now to follow His Words with action and not just thought.
The other book I am beginning is Seven: an Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. If you have read any of my blog posts about bypassing "Getmas" this year, being ringless, the yes club, AD living as an American or the best gift I can give, you know that God has been working on me to change the way I view the world and what I have, to stop living as an American Christian and start living as a follower of Christ. In this book I will be paring down one aspect of my life, every month, for 7 months. These are the categories: food, clothing, shopping, waste, possessions, media and stress. Honestly, I am not sure which month I am more nervous about. However, I think this will be powerful because my focus will be taken off of the everyday and put back on Christ! I wasn't fully sure how to approach the book at first but the desire to actually live through and not just read it was cemented in me after I heard David Platt teach on Ezekiel 16:49.
“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49
So pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness (hello Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest) and a lack of reaching out to those in need is part of the iniquity of Sodom? I have to admit just reading that verse makes my stomach queasy. Those are all things I struggle with on a daily basis.
I am looking forward to the struggles (no really, I am) and transformations that I will experience over the next several months both in learning about making disciples and in cutting away the excess in my life. I am sure there will be plenty of posting about it too.
So, what do you think of all of this? Of following Jesus’ Words in action and of cutting away the surplus in our lives that weighs us down so much more than we know?