This week we move on from the Pillar of the Ten Commandments to the Pillar of the Apostle’s Creed. During this part of our series we will be considering the power behind belief. When we confess “I believe…” the words that follow this introductory statement can set the stage for how we view life and whether or not we find peace as we go through life.
What you believe about God, the world and humanity will largely shape the way your days play out, as well as an understanding of the meaning of those days.
· Is there a God to consider?
· What does that God think of me?
· In light of that God; how does one life connect to another or fit together?
· What can I depend upon?
· What is my part to play in it all?
Our brief study on the Apostle’s Creed will take us through the end of 2014. Expect this ancient summary of the Christian faith to speak into the above questions and many others that you find yourself considering as God brings this year to its conclusion.
So, in this season when we consider giving thanks, I will invite you to give thanks for this brief creed. Live in the firm foundation our God has in store for you when you are able to proclaim with confidence “I believe in…”
United with you in The Faith,
The Ten Commandments conclude on the issue of coveting. Webster defines coveting as “to desire inordinately”. God is well aware that we have a tendency to be “owned” by our desires instead of “owning” them. We are often driven to possess and then ultimately that drive possesses us. Jesus described this issue in Luke 12:34 when He said, “For, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” These words of Jesus are just as fitting for us today as they were to the very first audience. In this brief statement is a call to correction as well as an invitation to freedom.
With that in mind, I absolutely love this time of the year. Even though it is a bit busy there are so many family and church traditions that just make me feel like I have a place in this big world. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. So it is good for all of us to consider a few questions.
· Are you thankful?
· Are you content or are you coveting?
· What do you want and why?
If we are going to enjoy our lives and be good stewards of what God has provided for us it is vitally important we address the issue that our culture wants us to covet. It is built into our “healthy economy” as well as the “American Dream”. I can say that I want something better for my children and that is not automatically destructive or misdirected. But, if that thing I want for them is based on stuff or titles or so many other things that are not in God’s perfect will for them then I am setting them up for a life of dissatisfaction.
As we reflect on the Ten Commandments we can ask the question, “What does God want us to treasure?” The answer is relatively obvious. God wants us to desire loving God and people. When I use the word “love” I mean to live our lives as givers to God and others. I mean that we find our contentment in trusting God as we serve others. This stands diametrically opposed to the concept of looking at others and coveting what they have.
Contentment is a gift from God that will defeat the temptation to covet. You will also find that there are some tremendous by-products of contentment such as joy, clarity, balance and a sense that your life has significance just as it is in God’s Kingdom. God will provide each and everything that you need to live your life as His beloved child. He never fails and He never falls short.
So, let’s be content!
There was an old game show called Truth or Consequences. I don’t remember much about the show but the name stays with me and serves as a reminder of reality. In many ways we operate assuming truth and if it were not so the consequences could be significant. For instance, we take for granted that if I put $30 of gas in my car today the pump info would be true and I would have added 10 gallons of gas to my tank.
Now, if my gas gauge wasn’t working properly and I took off in my car for St. Cloud I should be fine, right? Yes, but what if the gas station was lying to me and was actually giving me my gas at $9/gallon instead of the $3/gallon on the sign? I would run out of gas on Highway 94 somewhere south of St. Cloud. All of a sudden my little trip becomes an unwanted event!
That example is a pretty small amount of consequences compared to other examples but I think it serves the purpose to point out how often we depend on truth. We count on the “fact” that we are basically operating in a truthful context. In many ways our entire society is built upon truth. We believe that people owe each other the truth. It is with this in mind, which allows us to rely on our judicial system which requires people “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. If people lie under this oath they will be held accountable for their lies and punished.
Truth matters in our lives today and every day. The big question regarding truth that we need to come to grips with is regarding objective truth. Is there such a thing as ultimate truth? Are there foundational truths that are for all societies and all people for all of time? Many people would say NO, there is only subjective truth that varies depending on the context. I would disagree and want people to know the very good news that we have foundational Truth that we can ALWAYS count on!
No matter what comes your way there are things that are true. Here are a few.
· There is a God and that God loves you and knows your name.
· That God created you and wants to claim you as His own no matter what you have done in the past.
· There is a God that has communicated to us just what we need to know and He wrote it down in the Bible.
That book is the Word of God and it is true whether or not we like it.
· God invites us to agree with Him but it is true even if we disagree with Him.
The culmination of God’s revelation of Truth is found in Jesus. In fact, it is Jesus Himself. To agree or disagree with God will have consequences. What will your consequences be?
Jesus said, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free…I am the way, the truth and the life...” -John 8.32, 14.6
Connecting Lives in Grace and Truth,
Pastor Nick Mundis