Thoughts of a Christian wean

Wholly, Holy, Wholly

Christianity

For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.
Joshua 14:8 NLT

The English language has so many words that are similar in sound but different in meaning. Normally I look for the fun that can come from that, but sometimes it’s not so funny. Sometimes it’s serious. Sometimes I need to be more serious. 

This passage made me think of the words wholly and holy.

My mind wanders. Sometimes I can read the Bible and, although my eyes are covering all the words, my mind is thinking about something else. I’m not giving my mind wholly to the reading. I’m not wholeheartedly following the Lord the way Caleb did. He was blessed with the pick of the land because he was wholeheartedly following the Lord.

I’m sure that, if I give my mind and my heart wholly to my time with God, I might find that I get closer to being holy. 

Faith(ful)

Christianity

When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered. Half the tribe of Manasseh and the tribes of Reuben and Gad had already received their grants of land on the east side of the Jordan, for Moses, the servant of the Lord , had previously assigned this land to them. 
Joshua 13:1, 8 NLT

I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites. So be sure to give this land to Israel as a special possession, just as I have commanded you.
Joshua 13:6 NLT

Having faith and being faithful are not the same, though they are linked. Having faith means that you believe that something will happen. Being faithful implies that you are dependable – people can rely on you and trust what you say.

God listed the land which had still not been captured and cleared for the Israelites, but he told Joshua to include it in the land that would be shared out to the tribes as if it had already been overcome. He said that he would clear the people out of these lands. It took faith on Joshua’s part to include these lands in the share-out.

But it took more than faith to see it actually happen. God said he would clear out the land ahead of the Israelites – they had to do their bit: to follow God. They had to be faithful and serve him. In the end, they weren’t and it took 400 years of struggles to get the land.

I can have all the faith in the world but unless I follow God when he goes ahead, I’m not going to see what I have faith for.

I need to have faith and be faithful at the same time. 

Re Action

Christianity

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

One of the things I love about God’s forgiveness is that it is not just a matter of,  “OK, I’ll let you off this time.” It’s much more than that. He forgives me, and that’s the whole matter closed, gone forever. He doesn’t keep a spreadsheet with all the dates, times and sins. He doesn’t keep any record of it at all.

God is love, and the passage above is a description is what he is like. I am made in his image and the passage should therefore be a description of what I am like.

To my shame it’s not.

Just as I was thinking about this, the phone rang. Someone wanting to make me aware of a new government scheme which would help me to buy something that they just happen to be selling. Did I show love by not being irritable, not being rude? Nope. It’s things like this that make me give up being nice.

Ooops, love doesn’t give up either.

I really have to get a grip. I really need to overcome and destroy the bad guy inside me and let love be my automatic reaction, not anger. 

Time for Destruction

Christianity

No one in this region made peace with the Israelites except the Hivites of Gibeon. All the others were defeated. For the Lord hardened their hearts and caused them to fight the Israelites. So they were completely destroyed without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Joshua 11:19-20 NLT 

Temptations come every day. Sometimes I resist them, sometimes I succumb, and then they come back another day, even the ones that I successfully resist.

God doesn’t want me to give in to them, but I don’t think he wants me just to keep resisting them either. He wants me to completely destroy them all! He also wants me to disable and destroy all the ways they come at me (Joshua 11:9). He wants them completely out of my life, so that they can have absolutely no effect on me. Even resisting them successfully takes effort that can be better used in helping others. 

Seedy Character

Christianity

The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.
Proverbs 11:30 NLT

As I walk through my life, I leave things behind me. Some of it is quite literally rubbish which I discard (carefully, in the bin!) and which it would be pointless to carry with me, but a lot of it is intangible and invisible. I don’t even know I’m leaving some of it. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not.

I’m talking about things that I leave in other people – thoughts and emotions. Things that can be left in a flash, maybe just by a single word or a look or a thought. Small things in themselves which get bigger. Seeds.

Every seed which germinates grows into something. They might live for years or be dead in days, but they all grow and change the environment around them.

I need to be more careful about the seeds I leave behind, and the writer of this proverb clearly states that a good deed will turn into a tree of life. My seeds might just create trees of temporal life, or perhaps eternal life, and I need to ensure that they do. They can all affect the lives of the people around me and I should aim for an eternal effect all the time. 

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