Sunday, October 27, 2013

throwing out the to-do list.

This week we had the privilege to go to Trail West, another Young Life camp, for a staff retreat. We spent three days together worshiping, playing games, drinking lots of coffee, and hearing from speakers. It was absolutely wonderful.

the girls at trail west.

One of the speakers, Reid, talked about Moses and his relationship with God. Moses was not a great king nor did he have high ranking in society, but God appeared to Moses and called him to lead 2 million people out of slavery and into the promised land of freedom. As you can imagine Moses was a bit overwhelmed and doubted God's calling. He said to God, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The Lord did not appear to you'?"(exodus 4:1). Then God told Moses to throw his staff to the ground, and when he did it became a snake. God instructed Moses to pick the snake up by its tail and in doing so, it became a staff again.

Reid challenged us by pointing out that sometimes God asks us to throw things down to the ground, to remove them from our controlling hands, and give them to the one who is in control of all things. It's quite likely that we could throw down something new every day. 

As I thought about this and asked God to reveal to me what it is I needed to throw down the word 'religion' came to mind. I was a bit confused for a moment, but things have become much clearer now.

Over the past year, my focus has slowly diverged from my relationship with God to a list of things I should do as a Christian. It's quite a long list, really, of things I need to do daily in order to call myself a Christian...

  • read my bible
  • pray
  • love people well
  • forgive others
  • be truthful in the words I say
  • think thoughts glorifying to God
  • be thankful in all circumstances
  • obey my authority

The list goes on. But checking these things off a list doesn't get me anywhere. What God really wants from me is an intimate relationship in which I give him my everything. C.S. Lewis writes it this way, 
"The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says 'Give me All. I don't want so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good."
God doesn't want my completed list. 'Throw that to the wolves', he says, 'and give me you. Give me your dreams and desires. Give me your pains and sorrows. Give me your struggles and strongholds. Give me all.' It's when I can finally throw down my religious list and give him my all, that I can be in true, intimate relationship with him. 

A marriage relationship came to mind when I was processing these thoughts. A husband and wife are in relationship with each other similar to the relationship we have with Christ. There are expectations husbands and wives have... a list of things they should do to play the role. But checking things off the list doesn't create an abundant marriage relationship. There has to be passion and desire to know each other intimately. The same is true in our relationship with God.

So today I'm throwing down my Christian to-do list and I'm spending intimate time with God. I desire to know him deeper. I desire to give him my all in hopes that he will be able to use me for his glory and his purpose. And I challenge you with the same question Reid challenged us with... What is God asking you throw down, to remove from your gripping hands, and give to him who is control of all things? 

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