I was reading a book Sunday afternoon between ministries and came upon this quote from Mark Noll:
“…evangelicals have not thought about life from the ground up as Christians.”
When I read it, I immediately was struck with the fact that he’s right. I’ve never looked at life from the ground up, totally and completely from a Christian perspective. Instead, I’ve looked at the Christian walk much like working on a house. I either add on a new room or renovate an existing one. And that’s all well and good, but the problem is that it means that if there are foundational issues, they are rather costly to fix. And they take a great amount of time. And they limit what I can do in the meantime. Also, I’ve seen a lot of houses were rooms have been added on. You can tell that’s what happened over time. The same is true of certain types of renovations. For instance, if a house has a converted garage, you can usually tell.
So when it comes to the Christian walk, if we’ve not looked at life from the ground up, we may be hindering ourselves and hindering God in making us more like Him. Or He may be changing us, but our old lives shine through with some key details that reveal we still have issues. And that goes against the following verse:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17, NASB
Couple this with passages like:
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had not been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” – Luke 6:46-49, NASB
And it means re-thinking life from the very basics. Now I realize that through the leading of the Holy Spirit God has broached some of the foundational work needed in our lives. That’s part of the Christian walk. But I wonder, how many of us have intentionally considered all aspects of life from the point of view of the Cross? We traditionally talk about our priorities as God first, family second, friends third, and job fourth. And that pat answer no one really argues. But is that answer genuinely correct? I would say no. The reason I say no is because it reflects an answer given without serious consideration of God and Scripture in every aspect of our lives. It’s also too simple. Perhaps when we do become circumspect enough to sift what we think, what we believe, and what we do with the authority of Scripture we’ll conclude that answer is correct. But until we take the time to do so, we won’t know.
I know in the next couple of weeks I’m going to diligently look at all areas of my life. I know there will be changes to be made. This is always the way God works. He reveals something new, gives us a little deeper understanding, and it’s up to us to respond. Timing wise, this quote came as I was considering some of the things which I need to give a lower priority in order to make other things higher. Change is never easy, but I’m encouraged because this shows God is working on me. That means He cares about me and wants to see me improve. He is taking the time to help me be better. And this is something He offers to all of us. Especially when we are open to His working. And if we consider our lives from the ground up, if we take the time to open ourselves up, He’ll show us what to tackle right now. On that note I’ll close with this:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. – Psalm 139:23-24, NASB