i had a lot of thoughts earlier, but my brain is feeling a little fried after a busy (but good) wednesday night up at church.
anyway, this morning i read through matthew 6 and 7 in the Message. this is part of the sermon on the mount, and reading it in the Message is just, well, different. mostly in a very good way. it's kind of like a slap in the face at times, being awakened to things i hadn't seen before in the text because i'm so used to reading them in the same translations.
i used to be fairly hardcore, or maybe just dedicated, to my NIV bible, but as i've started reading from several different translations lately, it's really opened my eyes to little things i hadn't seen before. made the word more fresh, if that makes sense. it was good before, and now, it's even better. i think that's happening a lot for me lately. i was always such an ALWAYS person--i wanted to set everything in stone--i'll always like this, i'll always hate that, i always do it this way, etc.
but now, for some reason, most of my alwayses (if that makes sense) are slipping (or leaping) away, and though it was a little weird at first, i really like it now. flexible, more free, less predictable, etc
anyway, back to matthew 6 and 7. a couple passages that jumped out at me:
19-21"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
22-23"Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
24"You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both.
25-26"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
this is all about choice: God or what I want, is what it basically boils down to. but how much time do i spend debating, deliberating, whining and calling it praying, etc? how much time do i waste with all this, when what it boils down to is His way or my way? life or death, as it says in Deuteronomy. hard to swallow at first, but very true, the more i think about it.
this is from somewhere in 6:30-33 "What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."
this pretty much is me in a nutshell--i get so hung up on getting what i want, what i need, what i want God to give me or do, when what He wants is relationship, and the opportunity to respond to Him, not to expect or demand, if that makes sense.
i started thinking, what if i went through life, through each day, not demanding certain things from you, but just living with expectancy, looking forward to seeing You reveal yourself in unexpected places? could that really be possible? i think so, and i think i want to start thinking more this way.
7:12"Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.
ah, the golden rule. we all know it, right? but when i read this today, i thought, what if i really lived this way? what if i stopped and thought about things that i love, that make my heart happy, and i just started doing them for others, NOT expecting something in return? and not trying to do them only for people i really like, but for anyone that God put in my path?
that would be a little crazy. but possibly very cool.
so i thought of 2 things to start with: one, physical touch. now, that sounds kind of weird, and it even freaks me out a bit, but i love when someone, in the right moment, gives me a hug or a pat on the back, etc. so what if i got over myself and looked for God given opportunities to do that for others?
and then, asking questions. i love when people really listen and care and ask more than just surface questions. so what if started doing that for others, and really stopping long enough to listen to the answers. that could really change things.
we'll see what happens. more to come...