Monday, February 28, 2005

Digging Through the Dirt

Scripture makes it clear that we must dig through dirt that gets between us and God. Jesus illustrated that with a builder who “dug, and dug deep” to lay the foundation of his house. Luke 6:48 (New Jerusalem Bible). Jeremiah communicated it by describing a tree that “thrusts its roots” through the soil to reach God’s life giving water. Jeremiah 17:8 (New Jerusalem Bible). What can we learn from that?

Different Kinds of Dirt
One thing is that not all dirt is the same. Some is easy to burrow through, like sand or loose topsoil. Other dirt is tightly packed and difficult to remove.We see that pattern in our lives.

Some of the things between us and God are easy to get through. We recognize how they hinder us and, with His help, can remove them without too much difficulty. Sure, it takes some effort, but they’re relatively easy to get out of the way.

Others are more difficult. Like soil compacted by repeated footsteps, we each have settled behavioral patterns that are very difficult to break. These can only be overcome with great help from God and great effort on our part. The good news is that “with God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Not all dirt is “dirty”
Another lesson is that some of the things between us and God are not inherently bad. Just as a person building a house must sometimes remove rich topsoil to put down solid footers, each of us must sometimes get rid of things that are not intrinsically bad, and that can be very beneficial in other believers’ lives, if they interfere with what God wants from us. The point is that we have to look at things in terms of how they serve God’s individual purposes for us, and be willing to remove them if they get in the way, even if they are not objectively bad.

(Other images about eliminating things that distract us from God and His purposes were posted on September 18, October 3 and 14, November 21, and December 8, 2004 and February 28 and August 3, 2005.

Other soil/gardening related images were posted on October 3, November 21, December 8, 2004 and June 11, June 13 and June 24, 2005.)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Like Father, Like Son

Sometime in the late 1990’s I, then a 40ish married man, visited my parents for a week at their home. I spent a lot of time with them, and came back acting a lot more like my dad, with his mannerisms (that had always been there to some extent) more pronounced in me. That was not the result of conscious effort, it just happened. But, as time passed, and I became immersed in my normal life, those mannerisms receded.

The same dynamic occurs between us and our Heavenly Father. The more time we spend with Him, the more we will see His nature in our behavior. Conversely, the more we are focused on our own affairs, the more our own nature takes precedence over His.

(Images addressing what we can learn about God from being parents were posted September 17b, 17b, and 17c; November 13, 15, and 24; December 2, 2004 and January 2, February 18, April 25, August 9 and October 3 2005.
Images about conforming/yielding to God were posted September 12a, 18a, 18b, 18d, and 23; October 3 and 3a, November 6; and 21, December 8, 12, and 15, 2004 and January 10d, February 18, May 11, June 18 and 27; August 21 and 27; and October 3, 2005.)