Friday, August 19, 2011

Building Up Walls

Posted by: Derek Wadle
I've been thinking a lot about vision lately. Not so much about the fact that I wish I didn't have to wear contacts or glasses, but about vision for my life. I think this is something that gets so overlooked in our world today. It's all about doing what you want, when you want, when it feels right.

But what about when it doesn't?
What about when it's hard? What about when the pleasure is gone?
Well, we stop. Right? Isn't that what happens these days? If I don't want to do it anymore, I don't have to. It's my right. It's really just my short life to live exactly how I want, come what may on the other side of this life.

So we see people with multiple jobs, moving to multiple cities, severing multiple friendships and entering multiple relationships and often experiencing a multitude of hurt. Hurt is sometimes the motivator to move. If you're hurt some where, move on, avoid hurt. If you could potentially fail somewhere, move along.

But I believe the word of God has something entirely different to say.

"Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained..." Proverbs 29:18a
"Like a city that is broken in to and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit." Proverbs 25:28

It's kind of hard to think about a city with walls today. We don't have those. It's pretty easy to get in and out of Des Moines. But think about it, imagine if we didn't have the defense systems we have today. The only thing protecting us from those crazies in Ankeny from getting to us would be a giant wall. And the integrity of that wall is dictated by the people living near it.

How that played out in OT times was you were responsible from the portion of the wall behind you and on each side of you. Same with your neighbors. So you see, at anytime, there were 3 people working to maintain the wall that protects the city from the invaders, thieves and anyone who's aim is to destroy your city.

Now, if I lived near a wall, for sure the part of the wall next to my house would be the toughest wall ever. But what if I only took it that far? What if my only aim was to maximize the integrity of the wall behind my house and I neglect to help my neighbors? What if my neighbors were lazy slobs and never touched there wall and I said 'It's your life, do what you want?'

The Ankenites (Ankonians? Ankistines?) would break through my neighbors wall and destroy them, and then who's the next closest target? I am.

So what does this have to do with vision? Everything.

We have to think of the vision of our lives like these walls. At least that's what I think. I need to build up my wall in the best possible way, and surround myself with people of the same vision. Practically, I want to set my life up in such a way that God uses and protects me to the glory of His kingdom. I want to avoid the hurt that the world gives as much as possible, but I want to be effective in reaching people for the sake of the kingdom, in a sense, protecting them from the world and from an eternity in hell.

So I build my wall. I read my bible everyday. I pray. I work hard at my job. I get discipled. I seek counsel. I receive correction. Pefectly? You bet. (not really)

But I've also determined to build my neighbors walls up. I pray for people. I serve people. I commit myself to the Downtown Church. I share the Gospel. I disciple. I love. I suffer with others. I appeal to others when I see sin destroying them. I seek to meet the needs of people.

Please know, my aim is not to boast. My aim is not to show anyone how sweet I am. I'm not. I struggle with all of this. I'm not perfect, I never will be.

Practically, if you haven't laid out a vision for your life or really thought about it. You can think about this.

What 10 things do I do every day or almost everyday without fail? I'm not talking about brushing your teeth or eating. I'm talking about watching tv, reading your bible, praying, reading entertainment news, spending hours on facebook and things like that. How are you using your time.

You see, if you say that you want to live life for the Lord, that requires self control. And a simple "I'm for Jesus" without any sort of thought about how that practically is going to play out will leave you scrambling day to day and can often lead to a life full of guilt. You can find yourself beating yourself up because you don't read God's word or pray or you spend hours watching TV and can develop the "I'll start tomorrow" attitude. But how many times has tomorrow come and gone and you haven't started? (I'm talking to myself here).

The vision of your life determines your exact lifestyle and helps you exercise self control. If there is no vision for the Gospel, it will be hard to have passion for the Gospel.

Look at Jesus's vision:
 "Therefore, since we have so great s cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and  the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Jesus had a vision that He saw through to the end. He considered the end, and set up his life in such a way to achieve it. At any moment, He could have said "No" and then where would we be? If our attitude is "to each his own", can we really be mad that He changed His vision before the end and the affect that would have on us? Nope.

But He didn't. He set aside His own preference and adopted the vision of God the Father. He endured the cross for our sin, so that we could spend an eternity with Him.

So let's really think about this. What is my vision? How and for who am I going to live my life?