It’s October, and here in Anita Land, that means milestones. As a child in my family I grew up with the works of Tolkien, Lewis and any other writers we could get our hands on. I am currently re-reading Alan Marshall, who is a Great Australian storyteller. If you ever come across it, ‘Whispering in the Wind’ is an amazing piece of work, brilliantly spun, funny, engaging and uplifting. It would make a great bedtime/classroom serial or just a piece of great literature to have and enjoy.
We had access to a wealth of talent in our formative years, right across the educational spectrum, animal, vegetable, mineral, mathematical, literary. Some might call it a glut… It was accepted as everyday information.
It was a singular kind of heritage. We also grew up in an environment that was supercharged too by True Baptist Thinking.
So, while we were being osmosed into thinking for ourselves educationally on a wide range of topics, we were also being osmosed into approaching the world from the point of view that every person is valuable in the eyes of God and no matter what, you don’t waver from justice, mercy and compassion.
As a kid, having a brain and an hyper-developed sense of justice can get a body in trouble…
I find the nature/nurture business in the context of new lives in Christ very interesting. My particular heritage has been full of good soil as it were, but not everybody has had the same advantages I have had.
On the other hand, we all also have to start our own journey on The Narrow Way with nothing, because none of us can rely on our parents, grandparents, religious traditions, or the stuff that we do to get us to Heaven.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (NIV)
Our way forward may be illumined by those who have gone before and make the opportunity to choose a lot easier, however we still have to build our own house. Sometimes the example people have been set is one they would rather not repeat. He would prefer that we build a Lego sized house of only diamonds than a palace with stable manure.
I don’t know if you’ve picked it up, but we are in paradox territory…
Yes, we do it alone with God. Yes, we build on the legacy of our fathers - or if we have no personal Christian life heritage, we begin the legacy ourselves to pass down to our children.
For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Psalm 61:5 (NIV)
This way of life is not a belief system. It’s not a twelve step program, or positive thinking mantra meditation mindset. Life with Christ, choosing to walk on the Narrow Way affects every part of a person: body, soul and spirit.
We have largely accepted that there is no power left in the experience of the life of Christ, it has been bred out of a large portion of the congregational church, and replaced with varying degrees of entertainment or work.
What is it that still draws us to Him? The Holy Spirit Himself sparks within us, within History past and we see and long for the experiences of those who have gone before us to be our own experiences and the experiences of our children and our childrens’ children.
Stories of the miraculous come out of places in the developing world, and we wonder if we might see them in the first world (ever increasing, please Lord Jesus!).
I feel like authenticity is one of our biggest struggles here. How without the everyday intervention of the Holy Spirit can I possibly be in Peace and lay down those precious stones on the foundation that Jesus laid in my life. As I build with valuable materials, I am laying down heritage for those who come after me. For my nieces and nephews who watch my life and ask me questions. For the people who live in my neighbourhood who watch how I live. Even strangers on the street will know.
I have experienced the difference between trying to live this life with His Power and without it. There is no comparison.
When push comes to shove, you just have to want an authentic relationship with Jesus, a nitty gritty, nuts and bolts, warts and all, guts exposed relationship. And then set out to get it.
Bill Johnson says something along the lines of “Chase God until He catches you”.
In the OT, in Psalm 61, when David talks about his heritage, I suspect he is talking about those people going back to Ruth (Book of Ruth), who left her country and took a chance on her mother-in-laws’ God to provide. Looking forward some years; that is the family Jesus was born into.
I wonder what heritage we are setting up for those who come after us. What will our decisions to live authentic, deeply intimate relationships with our triune God do to us and those around us; that will change the way the world works?
It’s just about you. It’s just about today. But your decisions and actions today could last thousands of years.
God Bless You Very Much
Psalm 61 (NIV)
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Increase the days of the king’s life,
his years for many generations.
May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;
appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.