Sunday, May 3, 2009

In A Positive Light

I apologize for being so desperately sporadic in my posting! It seems that my days get away from me, and though I often think one thing or another would be wonderful to write about, I can't settle my mind enough to put my thoughts together. I don't want this to be a place full of ramblings (though at times ramblings can be fun!), but that what I write here would be a blessing and benefit to those of you who stop by and read.

This morning, in our Sunday School class we were talking about following Christ ~ intentionally living as Christ lived. These were some of the scriptures we read.

"And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? Luke 9:23-25

"Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23

"The thief comes only to stea and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

As we read these scriptures, I began to contemplate. First off, He wants to give us life. But not just any life. He wants to give us abundant life! That is incedible. I am a sinner ~ born seperated from Almighty God, who, in His time, reached down and redeemed my soul. But! He doesn't just redeem me into poverty ~ which would be more than I deserved, but He redeems me to abundant life! Wow!! What an overwhelmingly generous Father!

However, do we live the reality of an abundant life? As we read John 14, and Luke 9, it occurred to me that we often think of the Christian life in the terms of "Don't". Don't do this and don't do that. Don't even think about the other! But, how does God speak to us? As author and creator of life, He knows His creation, and He knows how to motivate His children. Certainly, there are "Thou shalt nots" contained within scripture. But there are also many positive directives.

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
"If anyone loves me, he will keep my word..."

Think about it, He could have said, "Don't do what you want, don't be selfish, don't disobey me..." But He chose to phrase things positively. In much the same way, He could have spoken to wives negatively. "Don't work outside the home. Don't disrespect your husband. Don't be harsh with your children." But how does our Father, who loves us and wants us to live an abundant life speak to His daughters?

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." Eph. 5:22-24

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." Col. 3:18

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." Titus 2:3-5

And of course there is 1 Peter 3:1-6. God chose to phrase all of these directives in a positive form. "Do this. Do that." Think about your children. Is it easier to motivate them by being negative or by being positive with them? How effective is negativity? Perhaps things are different at your house, but I have found here that negativity doesn't do much but make everyone negative. :-)

I know so many women who read the above passages and see them negatively. Particularly Titus. They have a right to work, and no one is going to oppress them and tell them they shouldn't work, or that it's unbiblical to work outside the home. I have no desire here to really flesh that out, or cause a great debate. However, I do not believe that God's best is for women to be in the workplace. Many women I know and love work ~ and I am not going to stand and condemn them. Some I know have prayed long and hard about being able to come home, and that has not happened; so while I know that the normative principle would be for women to be at home (this does not mean that we don't work!), that does not mean that there are not times and cases where it is God's will. But, if you are one of those who has seen these negatively, I would ask you to read them afresh. Ask God to open your eyes and heart to what He means. Not what man says, but what is God saying? God, who created you woman. God who always treats His daughters with love and respect. God, who wants you to live life abundantly! What does He say His best is? What does He say glorifies Him?

Then the question is: Do you want to live the abudant life? It can be inconvenient. It can be difficult. It will mean sacrifice. It will mean dying to self. Are you willing? Is it what you desire? Or, are you willing to settle for less? Do you prefer to live a defeated life? A life of heavy weights upon your shoulders?

I pray you would choose abundant life.

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