Wednesday, January 7, 2009

40 Days of cHesed—Day 3

Day 3 What Drives Your Life?

You’ve heard that saying coined by the Real Estate industry: When you’re looking to buy a home, the three most important things to consider are location, location, and location.

Well, when you’re searching for your life’s purpose, to understand God and his Word, the three most important things to consider are context, context, and context.

What is context and why is it so important? The current flood of books and seminars and programs and inspirational speakers, whether Christian or secular, are all trying to do the same thing. They are trying to provide a perspective for understanding your life. Because they know if they can help you focus your creative energy toward understanding your goals in life, they can help you “be successful.”

The next question, then, is what does it mean to be successful? Today, we want to consider what being successful looks like from God’s perspective. The concept he uses for that perspective, or context, is called covenant. If we’re going to understand anything about God, we must understand that he is a covenant making God. Covenant is the context in which we must understand all his actions. It is what drives God.

In the reading for Day 1, we talked about relationships being challenging:

  • That they require you to spend time talking together about what you want to do.

  • That you have to communicate clearly what you want the other to understand.

  • That you have to agree to some boundaries and ground rules for executing the plan.

This process of negotiating boundaries and ground rules is the process of reconciliation—what God calls making covenant. God has offered us a covenant for living in community—with him and with each other. Jesus Christ came to earth to bring us God’s offer personally. Isn’t that an amazing gift of love to us?

His amazing offer is what we call the gift of salvation—the Good News that God wants to adopt us as his children, with Jesus Christ as our elder brother! This gift is offered freely. There is nothing that we can do to earn it or buy it.

We must, however, be willing to accept the gift. And accepting the gift means accepting the terms and conditions that come with it. We have to be willing to restrain our free will in order to choose relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Why would we want to do this? Well, being adopted as God’s child is a wonderful privilege. With it comes a new life in Christ—starting with a clean slate. Nothing from our past separates us from God any more, because God has given us a new identity—all things that happened before are forgiven. That sounds pretty good. But it gets even better!

When we are adopted as God’s child; we join his community—the eternal community. And that means that part of God’s gift to us is eternal life. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow….

Having looked at two of the amazing benefits of accepting God’s offer, we need to take a look at those terms and conditions we talked about earlier. We can’t do any work that will earn us the right to become children of God. But we do have work to do once we become children of God.

Yesterday we talked about God in parental terms. Since we are told to call him Father, that’s an OK thing to do. Before we think about living in the Father’s family, let’s take a look at our own earthly home.

What is life like at your house? Do you have any responsibilities or chores? In healthy homes, each person has chores they do in order to share the burden of daily living. Consider this list of chores for starters:

  • making your bed

  • taking out the trash

  • washing the dishes

  • caring for the yard

  • shopping for groceries

  • cooking

  • cleaning the bathroom

  • washing windows

  • sweeping/vacuuming

  • maintaining the vehicle(s)

  • doing the laundry

  • putting away your clothes/shoes/socks/coats

  • putting away your toys (little kid toys as well as big kid toys!)

While not an exhaustive list, you probably will have recognized something on this list that you could consider your responsibility. But there’s more:

  • saying “please” and “thank you” and other signs of good manners

  • sharing and taking turns

  • using kind and polite words

  • helping (especially without being asked!)

  • listening without interrupting

  • playing

  • telling the truth

  • being gentle

  • keeping your hands off things that are not yours

  • doing what your Mom and Dad asks you to do—without grumbling!

Life in a family is made up of behavior as well as attitudes, isn’t it? And a healthy family requires healthy behaviors and attitudes. It is no different in God’s family. As a matter of fact, this is a large part of the work we are to do when we become God’s children. It is part of what God calls keeping covenant. Keeping covenant drives God as much as making covenant does.

So, what drives your life?

Stay with us—and as the days pass, we hope that you’ll discover that your answer is “covenant” and “covenant keeping.”

Have you already accepted God’s offer to join his family? If so, great!

If not, will you consider it? We’ve got many more days ahead of us in our Journey Guide, but if you know that you want to accept God’s offer to adopt you as his child, why not do that now?

Today’s Look at 1 John

Read 1 John 1:1 through 2:11 again. While you’re reading, think about the wonder of God forgiving us in Christ Jesus.

Keep Breathing!

When you invite God to share your day today, thank him for his amazing offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Thank him for being a covenant making God, which drives him to want you to be part of his family. As you learn more about covenant keeping, ask him to show you one “chore” you can do in your earthly home for which you’re not currently responsible—but would be a blessing to the rest of your family. See what happens if you and God do that chore together for the rest of this week—and, of course, don’t tell anyone what you’re up to. Let them notice it on their own!

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