Addressing the issues…
January 3rd, 2019
Something happened the last two days that imprinted a lesson in my mind and I want to share it with you today.
On New Year’s Day, I wrote the morning devotional and noted in it that I was instituting a change of format.
I had been using a third-party tool called ‘Spark’ from Adobe to layout the devotionals and Passage for Today posts for the last several months. I didn’t like the fact that I was having to force you, the reader to go to a different site to pick up your devotionals and the scripture entries that I provide.
I could format things better in Microsoft Word, where I actually do my writing. I had run across an add-on that would allow me to insert MS-Word documents into my posts. I thought that it would be a perfect solution until I found something that would do exactly what I want with the website and the posts presented here.
The first posts I felt like I had issues with the change. Thankfully it only took me till yesterday to realize that this ‘new idea’ was not what was called for.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine. She and her husband run a web software management company. Great folks, brother and sister in the Lord. It was her prompting that caused me yesterday afternoon to go back and redo the posts that had been afflicted with my ‘bright idea’. She also gave me some things to think about going forward, but that will have to wait until I have secured an income producing vocation.
Needless to say, the last two days debacles are repaired and going forward I will not inflict upon you any more MS-Word document inserts. I promise! If you want to go back and read the ones I’ve corrected because you gave up on the original version of the posts, here are the links.
Passages for Today:
My apologies for the blunder. It will not be repeated.
Object Lesson Observed
Considering the last couple days and reflecting on them, I was struck by some adages my Pa used to remind me of on a regular basis.
Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
If you do what you’ve done, you’ll get what you got.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
There were a few others but for the sake of our discussion today this will suffice as I want to focus on the inversion of the last one, “If it’s broken, fix it!”
Inverted, what took place on the Selah Musings website was:
- Recognition of something implemented that was wrong.
This was fairly obvious. I didn’t like it, I was certain my readers wouldn’t like it either.
- Seeking council
Thinking that there might be a way to correct the plan that was implemented I attempted to contact the folks that gave me the idea in the first place to no avail. Then I sought the council of someone I knew had the answers.
- Identifying the issue
Even though the issue was clear, the process of identifying and clarifying why the issue was a problem and the causation was key to me understanding what must be done.
- Determining on a resolution
Plotting a course of action that will resolve the issue.
- Committing to a course of correction
Change of mind sufficient to force action upon the issue.
- Fixing it!
Doing exactly what was necessary to correct the problem.
I have to imagine you are wondering how this is going to be a devotional at this point. It sounds more like a self-help geek spouting his spiel. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.
Applying the Object Lesson
We should be doing this in our spiritual lives as well. The same sequence of events that took place for me related to the website we all as Disciples of Jesus need to be engaged in on a regular and reoccurring basis.
Some are saying, ‘Whoa there Hoss, reoccurring basis?’
Yes, I am afraid so. See, just as with the website, the actions I took yesterday afternoon corrected the immediate problem, there still is more to do to get the site where it needs to be. But that will require more resources, which currently are not available to me, so in lieu of that, the actions taken were the ones that were in my power to apply at this time.
Just exactly as when we are convicted of sin in our lives, we need to go through a similar process understanding that we may not be able to address everything that ‘should’ be addressed but we must and should address that which is in our capability to resolve and leave the rest to God, trusting him to provide ‘funding’ for it later.
And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 (CSB)
Using the same words from our object lesson let me spell this out.
- Recognition – conviction.
Be tender to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the Word of God and we will find that we recognize things in our lives that must be addressed.
Everyone who remains in him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen him or known him.
1 John 3:6 (CSB)
If we are living in the Light of Christ Jesus and listening to the Holy Spirit, we are going to constantly be discovering ‘issues’ in our lives that we have a responsibility to address.
These could even be the same issue over and over again, but each time we are delving more and more into the issue each time and resolving it further. Living as a Disciple is not a one and done proposition. It is a process of continual growth until the point at which we are removed from this fleshly prison and welcome into the arms of a loving savior.
We just have to practice ‘prison reform’ in the meantime.
- Seeking – The Word, prayer, and those spiritual advisors we have come to trust because they share the Word of God as it is presented in the scripture and don’t vary from it.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Timothy 4:3-4 (CSB)
We seek counsel from the Holy Spirit to teach us that which we haven’t come to grasp with.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
John 14:26 (CSB)
- Identifying – We come to the place if we are obedient to the Spirit and grounded in the Word of God where we are shown in no uncertain terms, what the problem is in our lives.
- Determining – Upon being shown we have to come to a point of trust where were determine what we need to do to reset our course and alter our process. We can do this only through the power of God acting in us to resolve the issue.
I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 (CSB)
Plotting a course of action that will resolve the issue.
- Committing – Repentance. Until we have committed to resolve that which we are convicted of we haven’t repented. Another way of describing repentance would be, ‘a change of mind sufficient to force action upon the issue.’
So he told them this parable: “What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep! ’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.
Luke 15:3-7 (CSB)
I’ve seen this passage used often with good intent, but out of context. Jesus gave this parable, not as a message about saving us from our troubles and wanderings. It is a lesson in repentance.
What the Lord is saying is, ‘see here, I am the Good Shepherd. What any shepherd would do if their sheep were gone astray is focus on that one sheep till that one sheep was back in the fold.’
Jesus is illustrating that he is focused on us and seeking to bring us back into the place we need to be, that place is repentance.
We ‘need’ repentance. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”
He didn’t’ say want to think about obeying. The determining factor that spells out our love of Jesus is that we want to obey him and will do what is necessary to do that. What is necessary is repentance upon the revelation that he’s imparted to us through the Holy Spirit.
- Fixing – Obedience. Once committed (repentant) being obedient to the will of God is the ultimate solution to the issue. It is, ‘exactly what was necessary to correct the problem.’
Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22 (CSB)
The issue with a lot of ‘church people’ today is that they are perfectly satisfied to conduct their lives counter to the teachings in the Word of God. They can only do this when they refuse to infuse the Word into their daily lives and respond in cooperation with the Holy Spirit living in them.
Walking into a church a few times a week doesn’t make you a disciple of Christ, it doesn’t make you a follower, it doesn’t even really make you a believer in the sense that you trust him for your salvation and forgiveness. It simply doesn’t, any more than walking into a garage makes you a car.
If there is an issue, we’ve received revelation for, we should be convicted of it, seek guidance, resolve to do something about it, repent and fix it!
If it’s broken, fix it!
In His Grace,