Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Washing With Sweat - FORM

… to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word. Ephesians 5:26

I don’t have to be a serious bodybuilder to reap the benefits of weight training: fat loss, increased strength, muscle tone, and improved bone density. Incorrect form, however, can lead to sprains, strains, and other painful injuries that are counterproductive and even harmful. Inviting my husband to monitor and advise me on proper form brings the most benefit to my workout.

I have found being a disciple of Jesus necessitates proper application of the Word of God. When I have poor “form” it puts excessive strain on me and the body of Christ. It can disqualify me as a reliable witness, and apart from the interceding work of the Holy Spirit brings about discouragement.  

I don’t have to be a master theologian to reap the benefits of being a disciple: being united with Christ, receiving comfort from His love, experiencing fellowship with the Spirit, sharing His love with others and entering in His rest (Philippians 2:1-2). However, I do have to correctly apply God’s Word. 

Here are a few ways we may distort the truth and make application of the Word of God in our everyday lives counterproductive and even harmful. Ask yourself which of these might have a hold on you?

·        We fail to make what Jesus did for us on the cross our primary focus.
·        We make legalism or perfect adherence to rules our obsession.
·        We think of God as a genie in a bottle and make Christianity about our personal agenda and pleasure.
·        We become a church focused on social programs, cultural norms and traditions, and prosperity teaching instead of being led by the fullness of the Spirit.
·        We allow ourselves to be saved by grace (Jesus is the way) but then quickly return to a life of slavery to earn our way to heaven: obedience, prayer, church attendance, service work, and Bible study.
·        We fail to extend grace and forgiveness to others, impeding God’s work to rescue, redeem and restore all of creation to Him – and proving we really don’t understand what His grace means for us.

Just like I invite my husband to monitor my form in the gym while I lift dumbbells, I can invite him to participate in my proper use of the Word of God. How can you make accurate “form” a priority in your everyday life:
·        Be involved in a one-on-one mentor relationship or in a small group study. Ask them to hold you accountable (1 Thessalonians ).
·        Love the Word but love the person [Jesus] that it points to more (John 5:39-40).
·        Pray for the wisdom and humility it takes to receive and correctly apply God’s Word in your life. (Ephesians 1:17)
·        Don’t limit God’s influence to just the areas of your life you think you need work. He gets to decide what you need to be working on. (Hebrews 12:2)

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Other Posts in the Series: Washing With Sweat  A six week blog series answering the question "What does it mean for a husband to prepare his bride for Christ?" It's this woman’s journey with Ephesians 5:26. It is encouraging for men and women that are married, were married, want to be married, or would like to be married again.