Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grasping the Nettles of Commitment ~

Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 10:12
Nettles are the subject today from Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables by F. LaGard Smith--the way nettles can represent more than a wild weed which stings. LaGard says that nettles can remind you that not everything in the English countryside is cozy and inviting. Nettles may look like a harmless green plant, but they can be very painful when you brush them on your walk. You may remember the old adage to "grasp the nettle" and get on with it. Do you have the courage--the boldness--to do the right thing even when it's going to be costly? When you know the pain is going to linger with you for hours? It is said that if you grasp the nettles quickly and firmly, it won't hurt. How many of you want to try out that expression, to see whether grasping the nettle will end up in a lot of pain?

Surrendering to God can have the same sense of grasping the nettle--a painful experience. And that pain creates hesitancy on our part. You may be hesitant to surrender your personal pleasures and lifestyle to accept a faith that seems onerous and burdensome. You wonder whether knowing God is worth the sacrifice. On the other hand, you may have that comfortable feeling of one who has walked with God for many years--church on Sundays, Bible study during the week, and keeping your nose clean, which means that you can live pretty much like everyone else. But what does Jesus say about that attitude?

This quotation from Jesus says a lot about half-hearted discipleship; you must either surrender to him all the way or just quit pretending: "He who is not with me is against me." And remember the scathing rebuke given to the Laodiceans: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither cold nor hot--I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Holding onto God with one hand and the world with the other doesn't work. Jesus said: "No one can serve two masters." And Joshua said, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve!" It's all about commitment, isn't it? And our job is to think about just how committed we are--not just getting by, not just biding our time, not just seeming to be a Christian, but truly committed to faithful lives of service and dedication to God. .
This is enough for you to chew on today. I'll give you more on how to surrender to God as many others have done. There are some good examples for all of us to follow. But no one has ever grasped the nettle as completely as Jesus did. More on what it means for us to grasp the nettle next time.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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