Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Receiving Your Life

David celebrates the provision of the Lord when he writes that, “the steps of a righteous person are ordered of the Lord.” To be righteous simply means to be in covenant with the Lord – to have decided to order life in line with Him, to follow His ways and, when you get off track, to realign, centered on Him. David has discovered the wonderful reality that God is involved in the daily-ness of our lives – that He is working in real time to accomplish His purposes in us. Earlier in that same psalm (37) we learn the core elements of this kind of life – trust in the Lord, be faithful, commit your way to the Lord, do good. The outcome? He will give you the desires that are built into your heart. You will be well pleased with the life you end up living.

This is reflected in Romans 12:2. There, after Paul has encouraged Christ followers to respond to God’s mercy by wholeheartedly giving their whole selves to Him, he goes on to suggest that the life they end up with in doing this will be proven to be exactly what they wanted all along – it will be perfectly suited to them, very good in every way, and completely satisfactory to them. You can hear the echo of Jesus’ reminder that those who cling to their lives will lose them – but those who release their lives to Him will discover that, after all, they are the only ones who have a life! They will have lost nothing by giving themselves to Christ, but will have gained exactly what they wanted all along – their own lives!

Perhaps the classic text celebrating this providential reality is Proverbs 3. Again the key is living in line with the covenantal realities of kindness and integrity. Following hard on that is the encouragement to trust in the Lord, to live counter-intuitively if necessary, to keep Him central in the way that you live. The person who lives that way will, over time, discover that the Lord has had something to do with the course and outcome of his life. And, that it has worked out rather well!

This does not suggest a life of blissful ease. Sometimes the steps of the righteous lead through the valley of the shadow of death. Some mornings you will wake up to breakfast surrounded by the enemies of your soul. Then it is important to remember that He knows what kind of life is best for you – and He is at work to give it to you.

So, the first response to the gift of your life in Christ – regardless of the specifics of the moment – is to say, “Thank you.” It is a central component to the receiving of your life.

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