The Time Is Now
In my reading during this past week, I came across a phrase. The context or book isn’t important, because it got me thinking beyond the authors point.
The phrase is the time is now. I have been mulling over what is time is for?
The time is now for bible study.
Everyone should just pick up the bible and read. Don’t worry about reading it the right way or coming away with an orthodox belief. Read, contemplate what you read, reflect on what the text might be trying to say to you and pray about it.
To read the bible and let it work on you goes against what the world would have you do is subversive. The world would tell you it’s all myth (they usually mean myth in the negative sense, a made up story) and that none of it true or it was translated wrong or it’s rubbish. The world wants you to dismiss the bible. It’s rebellious and seditious to the world systems of power, greed, and individualism to read study and apply the bible to our life. I will not win friends by studying the bible. I’m more apt to wrinkle a few feathers by reading studying and applying the bible to my life and telling others what I find. It will unsettle my life. It will transform my life.
We need to seriously read, study, and apply the bible we do have to our lives. Not use the bible to exclude anyone, beat people over the head with it, or use it to point fingers at someone else. We need to take the bible serious and let it point a finger at all the places where we are not living up to God’s ideal.
The time is now for loving others.
The Christian life is all about love. It’s sad that a vast number of non-Christians don’t see Christians as loving. We need to renew our call to love. We need to love so much that this world will transform into one grand party. It’s not always easy to love or accept love. We all have problems with loving others that block us from seeing others as God sees them. If loving others weren’t so difficult than it wouldn’t be such a noble pursuit. If it weren’t risky, it wouldn’t be so awesome. Love is something we all want. I know I do. If we want love, we need to love. Love is not something outside of us, but something we are deeply in our inner being. We need to love, to be love, and risk the possibility of getting hurt. Love can hurt. It is risky, but it is better to be hurt by loving than not loving. Love rocks! Be the love you want!
The time is now for reflecting God’s image.
As Christians, we must look at Jesus first when we want to see and know who God is exactly. Jesus is the decisive revelation of God. To see Jesus it to see God, there is no disconnection between Jesus and God.
To understand what it means to be a living reflection of God we must look at the way Jesus lived, loved, and died. Jesus was not concerned about himself, what others thought of him, making a good impression, or meeting the standard, that society set up. He was independent of the good opinion of others. He embodied an inner trust in who he was and what his purpose was in living. He lived in such a way that with each breath, each stride, and each action God was present. Jesus forgave all who came to him. Jesus healed everyone. Jesus loved everyone. Jesus stood up for the things God wants and proclaimed the Kingdom of God with word and deed.
This life doesn’t begin after death in some far-off celestial paradise. It begins here and now. It begins when we respond in faith to the gospel of grace. It continues as we live out our faith in the world. We reflect the image of God by living authentic lives that mirror the life of Jesus.
The time is now for discipleship.
Some may say we are too messed up for God to use, but a cursory reading of the bible will confirm the truism that no one is too messed up for God to use them. God usually uses the messed ones to bring about his will.
I must Surrender to God’s will for my life to trust that God is taking me somewhere that it will be for my good even if it’s not what I imagine or hope it to be. Even if or maybe I should say when I go through the valley of death, the darkest night and the most dangerous places that God will be with me and will see me through it. God will lead and guide me and when I am unable to walk, He will carry me until I can walk on my own. Over the last few years, I’ve had to give up many things that I thought I could never do with out for the most part it’s been a good thing, a gift, a blessing. I am moving towards the person God wants me to be. I have a sense that God is leading me to places that are new, challenging and transformative. The more I step out in faith the more God will be there to guide the way.
The time is now to be the church.
God wants us to love and honor him not out of obligation or to get into heaven, but because we want to, because we are in a relationship with the divine not to keep the peace, to appease, or for some pretense, but because we are moved to it. God wants us to love and honor him not with our words and rituals, but with our hearts and actions. Through loving and caring for each other, we worship God.
We are the church when we are following so closely on the heels of our rabbi, Jesus we are covered in the dust from his feet.
A Christian is one who loves the unlovable, includes the excluded, guides the lost, cares for the hurting, is committed to being better than they used to be, helping others do the same, and affirms that we do this through Jesus Christ. Wherever a Christian goes and whatever a Christian does influences his worship and fellowship. Everything we do and don’t do should be guided by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We should follow God’s example and be an example to the world.
Going to church is not something you do to look good or to keep the peace; it’s something you do because if you didn’t in some way you would feel incomplete. It’s not about attendance at some building on a certain day and time, but about the way, you live out your life and faith on a daily basis. It’s about the kind of person you want to be and are becoming, not something to cross off a things-to-do list.
Church is not a building you go to, but a way of being in the world but not of the world.