Have you ever heard a song that you feel was written just for you? I know I have, and it was the inspiration for the address of my new blog site. There is a song titled “If I Stand” that was written by the late Rich Mullins (who by the way was an incredible song writer, I would encourage the reader to look him up) There is a line in one of the verses that says…
The stuff of Earth competes
For the allegiance
I owe only to the giver
Of all good things
This song and more specifically these lyrics have helped me tremendously over the past couple of years.
Breaking the Lyrics Down
There are a few important, core doctrinal attributes to operate on when actively following Christ. Things like love, humility, patience, perseverance, keeping a clear conscience before God etc… These are things that are spoken about repeatedly in the scriptures as things that we should continue in. I find that when I walk in these attributes I feel in my heart God’s great pleasure, that He is pleased with me. Oh, how often we ask God to “please” us when we should be asking if we are pleasing Him.
Whether we like it or not the doctrinal attributes I’m speaking of were specifically given to us to walk in, not to rationalize or to try to explain away with distant theologies, but simply to walk in.
Now let’s talk about when I’m not walking in them…
Stuff of Earth
This to me is when “the stuff of Earth” is competing for my allegiance to Jesus Christ.
The things that this earth offers us always seem to me like they are a sort of anesthetic, they numb us to the call of God, cloud our consciences, and have the potential to become addicting. You’ll notice that in the things that pertain to sound doctrine (Tit 2:1-13) you might see individuals who are consumed with the “stuff of Earth” have one or even a few of the attributes, an example would be that a wealthy man might have perseverance in attaining that wealth he so desires to have, where another might be temperate in his dealings with others, but you never seem to see just such an individual with all of the attributes. We as followers of Christ are to have all of them!
We cannot succumb to the vaporous self indulging idolatry Satan tries to force upon us with the materialistic things of this earth… If he could just get our eyes off Christ for just that one moment he gains ground, doing damage in varying amounts even if just a little, that little makes room for more and he is good at what he does; always waiting, always patient for the right moment.
This is how I would describe allegiance, to say: “Lord, come hell or high waters I have to be with you. I realize that without you Lord I can do nothing, you are my life, my sustenance, the very air I breathe and nothing else can compare to your loving kindness towards me. Father, keep me.” Not just to say this but to live this, to fix our gaze upon His face.
It will always look like “going the extra mile”, not just merely doing God’s will but loving God’s will, not just being “willing” to lay down your life for another, but actually doing so, setting yourself aside so that Christ can reign through you. When hardships come we will go beyond just bearing them, we will learn to rejoice in them!
You get the picture.
We go through our days fixing our gaze on the Light, keeping our consciences clean so that very same Light can shine in illuminating our mind, heart, soul and spirit so that we can become transformed to His likeness, He doesn’t just want part of us, rather He wants our whole being.
Anything that hinders this allegiance must be thrown out. We “cannot serve two masters”. We need to ask God as Jim Elliot so well put: “God make your mark on my ear so I can hear your voice”.
We must be loyal to our Lord.
The Giver of All Good Things
Christ is the giver of all good things. Everything that He gives us is for our good even if it looks the exact opposite. We have so much to be thankful for that we don’t spend enough time meditating on; I would advise that we do spend more time doing that though. I know that when I spend my days being thankful to God I’m spiritually ready to be a minister of His word “in season and out of season”.
Do take note that I said when I spend my days “being thankful to God”, I left out “when I’m feeling thankful to God” I would say that feeling thankful is definitely helpful in the being thankful but not required. I picture it being much like learning to rejoice in our trials and tribulations…
So to sum it up I think that it has to do with our attitude as Christians. What we do with the things that seem to complicate our lives. How we perceive and justify ourselves on a level that falls drastically short of our heavenly Father.
I don’t think that we ever have trouble relating the good things (or the things that we like) that happen to us as coming from God… but what about the things that we don’t like? or further, what about the bad things that happen to us? God at the very least allowed them to be present in our lives. but we don’t often think of it that way do we? Dare I say that He must have such a larger picture of what we need then we ourselves do? I believe that to be true. Why? Because i’ve both experienced and witnessed it at Rose Creek Village with whom I’m a part of.
Sometimes as things happen you can see the hand of God working, sometimes it’s not until after the fact, maybe even years later that you see His hand in a situation, I’ve realized that throughout my own life His hand has been in it shaping me, working on me, saving me, giving me more friends that you can even imagine! and of course Life and that more abundantly!
I’m indebted to Him who I call my Lord and Father, He is that giver that gives all good things, and it’s to Him that I give my life too.