Learning to swim

Let go and let God…?

I’m sure many of you have heard this saying a time or two, maybe even used it yourself.  Many people quote it as if it where scripture…but it’s not.  I think the idea being communicated is biblical if balanced out by other biblical teaching.

This morning in church my pastor shared about “Moving from a spectator to a participant in the Christian life”.  Do you ever feel like you are simply floating along in your walk with God…not really going anywhere?  Maybe it’s time to move from being a spectator and time to become a participant.  In 2 Peter 1:3a we read, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…”  Do you really believe that God has given you a divine power to lead a godly life?

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4

Before we come to know Christ there are many things sinful things that come easily to us…we don’t have to try to be better at lying, disobeying, manipulating, etc.  But after we have come to Christ we are “to be made new in the attitude” of our minds…but this doesn’t just happen without work.  Sin comes easily to us, but righteousness and holiness take work.*  God calls us to be more than just spectators in the Christian life, he wants us to active participants.

Here is an illustration that my pastor shared this morning that really helped me understand how “Let go and let God” isn’t the best motto in our walk with God.

We all know that becoming an Olympic swimmer take a lot of hard work and dedication.

If your goal is to win a gold medal, you aren’t going to get up when you feel like and head to the pool for some float time.

The same is true for those that want to life a Godly life…it’s going to take a lot of hard work.  In the beginning of Ephesians 4, verses 1 and 2, Paul urges us “to live a live worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”  This is not an easy thing to do…but remember,  “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…”

Ok, so back to… “Let go and let God”.  I think many times people use this saying as an excuse to simply float, it’s time to stop floating and start allowing God’s power to buoy us up in the water as we learn to swim.

*I should note that I am not referring to our eternal state before God.  I believe that at the moment of salvation we are justified in the sight of God and seen as holy in His sight by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I am referring to the work of sanctification (or being made holy) in our lives.

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Minnesota Summers

As I was driving into town today I was thinking of all the things that I enjoy about summer time.  Living in Northern Minnesota really makes you appreciate summer, as the winters can sometimes be unbearably long and cold.  Now, I’m sure there are some who live in states where their summer’s are HOT, like much of my extended family who live in New Jersey, that may say that our high 70’s – low 80’s is a bit chilly for summer.  But it suits me just fine.  I have also been savoring the changing of seasons here more, knowing that when I am in Senegal the seasons will be much different then I am use to.

To change the topic of just a moment…I’m sure many of you have heard of the book One Thousand Gifts – A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are At by Ann Voskamp.  I first heard Ann speaking about her book on one of my favorite radio programs, Chris Fabry Live.

Here is the publisher’s synopsis of her book,  “Drawing heartbreaking beauty out of the simplest of details, Ann Voskamp invites you into her grace-bathed life of farming, parenting, and writing—and deeper still into your own life. Here you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of becoming present to God that brings you deep and lasting joy.”

Last winter I read most of the book and while it was very good, I’m embarrassed to tell you I didn’t finish it.  I have a bad habit of reading most of a book but never quite finishing it (unless it’s a novel).  Another thing that slowed me down a bit was Ann’s writing style it very poetic and that made it a little hard to follow at times.  But, that being said, I still really want to read the whole thing sometime.

Anyway…ever since reading One thousand Gifts – A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, I have been making my own list.  But, so far this summer I’ve been very lax about actually writing anything down.  So, I’ve decided to share some of the things I’ve found myself being thankful for this summer.  Feel free to leave a comment with things you thankful for today!  The more we look for the beauty around us the more we see and know God!

 

1. The lush green of the fields, forests, ditches, yards, and gardens

2. The smell of strawberries fresh from the garden…I really wish I could bottle that smell for the cold winter days

3. A swarm of bees flying overhead, looking for a new home

4. The smell of dirt after a rain

5. Potlucks with dear friends

6. Hanging wash out on the line

7. The warm clothes just off the line that smell of summer and sunshine

8. Evenings spent with friends sharing how God is at work in my life…drawing me to Africa

9. Phone calls with a “little” brother far away

10. Watching my niece profess her faith in God by being baptized

11. Eating perfectly ripe raspberries out of the garden

12. Moments of working together with my Mom

13. Drives to work in the morning with my Dad

14. A perfect sunset

The list could go on and on…but to be perfectly honest, I have had to stop and consider what to write here.  God has given each of us so much to be thankful for, even when life is hard, but so often we take it for granted.  Or, at least I know I do.  I have been trying to soak in the little moments of joy that come my way so often, to acknowledge the gifts God sends my way every day.  Even when I am pulling weeds in the garden, washing dishes or mopping a floor, there are things to be thankful for.

I would truly love to hear some of the things you are finding to be thankful for…please take a minute to share!