February 13, 2013

Getting Serious About Faith -- Lent Day One

I've a confession to make. I've been a professing Christian for nearly 25 years. But I'm not a very disciplined one. Outside of small groups or Bible Studies, I don't spend a lot of time reading the Word. It's something I mean to change. Fortunately for me, resources for this are easier and easier to find. 

Now that it's Lent, I'm going to be following a reading plan Lent for Everyone.  

So why am I doing this plan? Really, it's an attempt of mine to grow both more connected with God (through reading the Word) and also with the Church by reading the same Scripture everyone else is. The readings in the plan are taken from liturgy, so it's something that is being read today by Christians the world over.

I spend a lot of my life thinking about my faith as something solitary. Just me and God. To an extent it's true, but there's strong wisdom in Proverbs 27:17: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." When I remember that, I feel convicted about my solo attitude.

We can't do faith without each other. I know for certain my own Spiritual life has been stronger when I have had others that have come around me and held me accountable. I always get more out of the Bible when I can discuss it with others. Right now, because of my work schedule, I don't have that. So this will have to do. 

As an aside, I think that's one reason I love the sacrament of Communion--it  represents a common ground for all Believers.  The bread and the cup are a remembrance of Christ and his sacrifice. In them we can all share in the community of Christ, no matter what denomination or creed we ascribe to. 

On to today's reading. It focuses on Matthew, Chapters One and Two. These chapters focus on Joseph,  the man who married Mary and helped raise Jesus. One passage that really struck me was Matthew 1:18-25. Joseph wasn't expecting the news of a pregnancy. There's not a lot here to explain his initial reaction. But really, is there any way that it could be positive? I'm not coming up with any. 

But here's the thing. Joseph waited. He didn't act immediately. I wonder how different the Bible would be if he stormed off and filed for divorce right away. It would have worked out fine in the end, of course, but it seems like it would've made things more complicated than they already were.

A lot of times, I feel like I'm not proactive enough. A little sleep, a little slumber,  a little folding of the hands... unfortunately, that's how I roll.  When it's about things I should get done (like weight loss, filing taxes, and auto repair for some recent examples) procrastination is something that should be excised from daily life.

But sometimes, it's okay to sleep on it. That's what Joseph did. He considered what he should do. God rewarded that by giving him guidance in the form of angels in his dreams. Maybe that will happen in your life. For me, though, God has spoken through the counsel of trusted friends, the lyrics of music, and his Word (when I've been faithful to read it).

Oddly enough, I feel like this has come full circle. I began this reading because I wanted to be more open to God's Word. The very first scripture just reinforced that idea in my mind.

Lord, thank you for this opportunity to become more in tune with your will. It's not easy to build a life of discipline, especially for someone who is as "go with the flow" as I am. Please help me as I seek to be a person who seeks your face. Surround me with those who would glorify you and would hold me accountable for who I am in You. Amen.


  1. You inspired me! I'm going to link up and do this with you. May I ask how often you plan to be blogging your thoughts, or what days? I was thinking of doing it weekly on Fridays. So far today's reading-- and especially your focus on it-- was very timely for us. I'll tell you why this weekend. ;) But yeah... thanks for the nudge I needed to get back in the word, buddy!

  2. My plan is to journal daily. ;) That will push me to be more focused on the season. I'm a Methodist -- there's gotta be some method, right? I'm glad you're doing it, too!