So it was hot. Then it was rainy, overcast, and actually cold -- Alex even wore a sweater. And now it’s sunny and hot again.
I am remarkably confused. Either that, or the weather is.
No matter what we want the weather to be like her in the Midwest, we can praise God that we’re not dealing with the ongoing hardships that large sections of the rest of our nation have been dealing with. The Pacific Northwest has seen another swell in the wave of wildfires, with thousands being displaced, and several people losing their lives. The Southeast has been wracked with one hurricane after another -- again, with thousands being displaced, and several people losing their lives. Please keep our brothers and sisters across the nation in our thoughts and prayers as they struggle just to get through the everyday issues of sustenance and survival. And while you’re praying for them, make sure to stop and consciously praise God for the ways that He has blessed you today. Put things into perspective.
In our Small Group Bible Study on Friday night, we looked at the Lord’s prayer, reminding ourselves that Christ’s little example of prayer begins by praising God for who He is, then asks that we might better live as active ambassadors for His kingdom before it ever gets to asking for personal needs to be met. And by the time we get to the end of the prayer, we’re reminded that we should be praying with the background of already having worked on getting rid of any bitterness toward anyone else in our lives. So forgiveness of others, praising God for His character, and asking for help to be better Christians ourselves all come before our personal, physical prayer requests. Kinda puts things into perspective, when you break it out like that.
That dovetails with what we talked about in our message this week, as we continued our series on “The Five Solas of the Reformation,” leading up to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, by looking at “Solus Christus” (“Christ Alone”), the crucial importance of making sure that everything that we’re doing and everything that we believe begins with, ends with, and consists of Christ.
It’s so easy to let our preferences or traditions or superstitions come between us and our sincere worship of God. It’s so easy to think that we need holy people to stand in the gap between us and God. It’s so easy to think that knowing about God is the same thing as personally knowing God. It’s so easy to sideline Christ, even in the midst of our worship of Him.
Too often in our lives, we aim for wholeness instead of holiness, recovery instead of repentance, feelings instead of faith, gratification instead of hope. We let our relationship with God slide into a nodding acquaintance with theology, or a program to be followed, or a focus on improving ourselves as human beings, instead of making sure that we’re focused on placing Christ first and foremost in our thoughts and actions. It’s an easy mistake to make, sidelining Christ without ever noticing it -- we’ve been doing it for centuries -- but we need to make sure that we stop and put things into their proper perspective.
We need to build our faith on Christ alone.