Christian Living

Fighting for your life

The week in our podcast Epic Every Day we talked about living on the verge. The verge is when you feel like you’re a house of cards only one move from collapsing. I think most of us are familiar with the feeling in our society, unfortunately. As I was doing my Bible study this week, I was struck by how we have a choice.

We can live on the verge in that frantic, trying to control, trying to do thing in our own strength—or we can live God’s way.

Living God’s way is very different. I’m doing Ruth right now in my Bible study. I love that book! I love how God sets Boaz up to be the perfect kinsman-redeemer for Ruth (his mother was Rahab, a former Canaanite prostitute, so he’s understanding of the plight of foreigners). Chuck Missler talks about how the book of Ruth is a type of Christ because Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. Obviously, it’a not just a type; it’a also a story about real people. Reading through chapter 2, I’m amazed both by Ruth’s actions and Boaz’s.

Ruth leaves her family, her home, her culture, etc., etc. and accompanies her widowed mother-in-law. Once they reach Bethlehem, Ruth provides for Naomi by working in Boaz’s fields. God provided for the poor during that time by commanding the Israelites to leave a part of their fields (the edges) available for the poor (Lev. 23:22). Anyone could come harvest. I’m always in awe of that system. It gave power to the poor by allowing their work to matter, allowing them to provide for themselves. They had dignity and purpose even though it was a societal method of providing for everyone. But I digress.

Ruth gleans in Boaz’s fields and he commands his workers to leave extra stalks for her to glean. He also allows her to eat with the workers and provides water and roasted grain. In other words, not only is he making it easy for her to gather food, he’s also making sure she’a got the energy to do that work.

Psalm 127:1-2 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (NIV).

One of the things I regularly pray is that I will build where God is building. That I won’t be off doing my own thing because that means that I’m wasting my time 100%. I was reminded of Psalm 127 reading Ruth. Because of Boaz’s kindness Ruth was able to gather more grain when she followed along after Boaz’s harvesters than if she had been harvesting in someone else’s field. God is the same way–when we align with His design for our lives, we are more fruitful in less time. He provides fruitful labor and the energy to engage in that labor.

One of the analogies I really like that I mentioned on the show this week is the ocean current in Finding Nemo (or Finding Dory). I love that idea that following God is like jumping into the current. It takes you places more quickly and with less effort on your part.

Aligning with God’s way isn’t necessarily life or death. I’m not saying it never is–just look at how addictions can destroy your body–but I think we get lulled into a false sense of security. Moving through our days, we get numbed by the sameness and we forget that what we do does matter. We forget that we are fighting for our lives–what they’ll be like, what legacy we’ll leave, how we’ll spend ourselves. Following our callings matters! Just like Naomi couldn’t see what God’s doing in Ruth 1 when her husband sons died and she ended up going back to Israel, talking about how God had afflicted her. In reality, God was paving the way for David and for Jesus and had plans to bless her again (Ruth 5).

Don’t doze off. You’re fighting for your life! You don’t have time to get swept away in busyness and complacency.

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Christian Living

Currents of Design

I love stories! Just in case you hadn’t figured that out about me 😉 I’m always amazed by the themes and metaphors that come out of kids’ movies. My family was sick this weekend (I’ve managed to stave it off so far!!) so we watched a bunch of movies. We also went to see The Lego Batman movie for my daughter’s birthday. I was pleasantly surprised by the themes in that one. I really loved how much batman changes–I’m a sucker for character-driven stories 🙂

Anyway! One of the movies we watched was Finding Dory. We watched it when it came out in the cheap theater too. This time around I was struck by the scene where they’re crossing the Pacific Ocean via sea turtle. I love the way they portray ocean currents in both Nemo movies! (If you want to see it, you can check out this or this.) They show a highway in the ocean–sort of like the moving walkways at an airport. The people walking on the walkway are moving way faster with less effort than the people walking next to the walkway.

I was thinking about how God’s designs are like that. When we align with the way He designed us to work, the walking we do is more effective and we get where we actually want to go so much faster. Some people never walk on the walkway.

It’s something I want to ask God about in every area of my life. If you think about it, He has a best for everything we do. There’s an easier way to be healthy than eating McDonald’s every day (or really any diet consisting of more than 20% junk food). There’s an easier way to be creative. There’s an easier way to learn. There’s an easier way to work. There’s an easier way to–you get the point. 🙂

I love how the fish around the current are almost standing still in comparison to everyone in the current. Can you imagine the witness we’d have if we all aligned with God’s design and were leaving people in the dust left and right? They’d be all about getting in the current.

Obviously, I’m not advocating a health and wealth gospel–Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world (John 16:33). But I do think that we make things harder on ourselves than they need to be. Imagine trying to cut vegetables with a dull knife rather than taking the time to sharpen it. Depending on the knife, it’ll take you longer and use more effort than it would if you just stop and sharpen the knife. I’m guaranteed to get spiritually healthier if I spend daily time with Jesus. I’m guaranteed to have less money stress if I surrender my finances to God. I’m guaranteed to be healthier if I give my body the nutrients I need.

Sometimes I think I get caught up in all the things I don’t know. I may not know exactly what I need to do to fix my sleep issues but I know the 80%. I know that if I eat enough prior to 3 p.m. for my body to store enough glucose to run all night, I sleep better. I know if I have enough magnesium, I sleep better. I know if I have a bedtime routine, I sleep better. I could go on but I’ll stop lest I bore y’all 😉 The point is, I know a heck of a lot more than I don’t. I have plenty of things I can work on applying before I need to worry about what I don’t know.

Anyway! Going back to Finding Dory, we have a choice whether we want to jump into the current or not–a choice we get to make every single day, every single moment. So what are you going to choose today?