Putting on Christ

Dressed for service (A message from Dr Tim)

For the last few years since my knee operations I have been trying to stay fit by riding a bike – I do OK…mostly riding around the lake…I need to tell you that I do not wear a lot of lycra…so I am not a mamil…I wear a bicycle shirt because of its pockets and clip on shoes but NO lycra!!. But when I come out to go riding I am dressed for action. Helmet, shirt, glasses, water bottle, shoes….if you don’t prepare then it’s going to be more difficult – if not impossible to complete the journey.

The trouble with riding I find is that although Canberra has wonderful bike path, in the middle of winter I have not wanted to get out and ride when it has been so cold and windy…I have come back feeling frozen…feeling that my bike clothes – although designed for speed and safety are not designed for warmth…so my bike has stayed in the shed more this year. Then there is spring…last spring I got attacked by magpies on several occasions… So that doesn’t make me feel that pre-disposed to riding in the spring…sure I can take precautions and be prepared by putting cable ties sticking up from my helmet – but that’s not a good look! But I guess the issue is do I want to dress appropriately to deal with the circumstances or do I want to look good.

So I have made a choice to go to the gym about a month ago. Down here at Anytime Fitness (free plug! J)…I have a session with a personal trainer every Thursday morning at 8am…and the rest of the time I go in and do a program that I have added to…

I have also noted that people who come to the gym – come dressed for action. The ladies wear lycra – the young men where singlets and muscles shirts and spend a lot of time doing weights in front of the mirror…and the old guys like me sneak in a daggy old t-shirts and shorts…and sweat it out treadmills, bikes and cross trainers…

The other day I went to the gym after work and I discovered that I did not have the right shoes…I had my shirt, shorts, towel, water bottle,  but I had my big black boots and I decided that I wasn’t prepared for action…so I went home – changed my shoes and went again…this time prepared for action. I have been going down to the gym about 6 times a week for the 4 weeks…and like riding – you have to dress for the activity…there’s not much use jumping on the equipment wearing a suit – or going down in the pyjamas – even if the gym is open 24 hours a day.

When we read the book of Hebrews, chapter  11, we find about some incredible people faith in the Old Testament – real action orientated figures.

It is a well know passage – recounting the heroes of the faith from the Old Testament who had a vision from God – believed God – trusted that God would help them and then had the faith to walk towards that new reality – even though things were not that way yet. One faith hero was Abraham.

We know about Abraham from the book of Genesis…He was a wealthy merchant prince – from Ur of the Chaldeans – called by God to pack and move to the Promised Land. So he makes the preparations and sets out on the journey – a journey that on camel would take about a month. So he settles as a foreigner…never builds a house…lives in a tent and goes through all the ups and downs as he waits for God to fulfil the vision. Sometimes he takes matters into his own hands – God forgives him and keeps working with him in spite of the mistakes – all the time building on the faith of this man, who put more value in God’s  vision for the future than for his own security.

Faith is action orientated.

I lot of people have a belief in a God – but what are they doing about it? How does your faith in God affect your daily life. Are you prepared for action – or do you have unattended issues that need addressing so that you are free to respond when God comes knocking.

Abraham believed God, but it wasn’t just a thought or a feeling.

He knew the secret of storing up riches in heaven…he had some tough and challenging times. But regardless of the circumstances he had faith that God would see the vision to completion caused and that caused him to make decisions, to make preparations, to act in ways that showed that he was anticipating/expecting and trusting that God would come through.

Now, Abraham wasn’t perfect – like Abraham we all drop of the initial intensity if what you’ve been anticipating doesn’t happen the way you were expecting. Then the good intension begin to be lost…and the preparedness for the move of God’s spirit disappears.

Like I said a few weeks back – it’s like getting an unexpected knock at the door and realising that you are not dressed appropriately – or your house is not fit for visitors  – so rather than embrace the interruption as some new opportunity, you slam the door and say ‘go away until I am ready’.

Jesus desires us to be ready. To be dressed appropriately and be prepared for action – to respond to the needs and opportunities that arise. Most likely God is going to do things that we don’t expect. Yet we try to put our faith activities into a box…on a Sunday morning or a Tuesday night.

Jesus reminds us that he will come again…He reminds us that we don’t know when that will be…so we need to be ready…we need to keep short accounts with God (not let unresolved issues  build up) we need to be always sharing the good news as his obedient servants… we need to be always action orientated…we need to have a vision for the future and be working towards that vision…knowing that we cannot anticipate everything that will happen…but we can trust that God is faithful.

We need to be prepared – but part of that preparedness is putting on the right clothes for the right occasion; and the right clothes for all occasions is the character of Christ (Romans 13:14). We are meant to clothes ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, his character and his ways. That’s how we can always be dressed ready for service.  So the question is – how ready are you for when Jesus comes knocking on your door and brings unexpected opportunities? What will be your response? Will you go will it or will you say I am not ready?

Some food for thought.