So, the Christ Church Liverpool magical mystery tour (ooo, where will we be meeting this week?) continued on Sunday with me speaking on Psalm 82. I loved that Psalm and how challenging it was - what does true worship of the true God - that is, making the real God the centre and focus of all that you do -what does that look like in practice
It looks like this: ceasing to show partiality to the wicked and defending the weak and the helpless. After all, that is what God himself is like: he loves, loves, loves to show grace to the weak, and he is opposed to the proud and wicked in all they do. Worshipping, honouring, and living for him will look like that!
Someone asked the practical question though - how do you "balance" that with doing evangelism? And I think the answer involves stepping back to see Asaph's unspoken but underlying theology in Psalm 82. You see, in the last verse, he makes it clear that his frame of reference is that God owns and runs the lives of everyone in the world. They are his inheritance, hence it is his right to judge them.
We are made by God our owner, for the display of God's character. We are not made to fulfil your own potential, or to fulfil our desires, or to do what we have to do to be ourselves (contra many churches' messages today!) but to show something about God. To display and honour and "glorify" his rule in the world. That's why he made us in creation, AND why he has redeemed a people for himself.
And that, at least a bit, begins to give some answers to the words vs actions question I think. Rather than geting myself into running my life myself, and then saying "oh right, how do I glorify God now -doing or speaking?" I think all if us need to consider every action, every interaction, every relationship as a means to display God's undeserved favour. At some points that will mean sharing the Gospel - after all, what is more compassionate than that?- but at some points making flat pack furniture or drinking tea, or watching a film and considering it Christianly, or driving non-aggressively and within the speed limit.
Let's step back. And say - with the person I am, in the situation I am in, how can I most display what God is like in his world? And let's ask that all the time. What we'd find, I think is that a lot more evangelism would happen, without us ever having to ask "what is more important?"
It will be hard work though. It will be almost like I'm not living my life for me any more, but living it as if it all belongs to someone else.
For those of you that pray -this week could you pray for:
- me to buckle down and get totally out of my holiday mindset into working mindset. Esepcially as we have both work related and just practical (mortgage, house insurance, car insurance) stuff to do. Pray for me to model God's kindness in all those small things
- diary planning - especially that we can prioritise good marriage time and contact with non-Christians
- for good and refreshing personal times with the Lord.