Reforming My Life (2012)

One of the creeds that the Reformers employed was Semper Reformanda, which means “always reforming.”  This motto was based on the idea that the church ought always to look toward Scripture, and if anything between the two contradicted, it would be adjusted.  Michael Horton clarifies: “Here is his whole phrase: ‘The church is reformed and always [in need of] being reformed according to the Word of God.'”  Horton goes on to explain that reforming is a process that the Holy Spirit does in the life of the church and/or the believer.

Lately, I have been feeling convicted in several areas of my life.  As I read the Scriptures I am continually confronted with the reality that my needs to look more like the life demonstrated by Jesus and his disciples and apostles.  I am certain that this conviction comes from the Holy Spirit.  And the more I feel it and the more I compare my life to the Bible, the more I realize that my life is in need of reformation.  These incompatibilities are in need of some serious adjustment.

In particular, I believe my life fails to be biblical in three areas: discipline, health, and mercy.  And in particular, these are three areas that are well-highlighted in the life of Jesus.  He is the model of discipline, health, and mercy.

Discipline

JESUS: Mark 1:35-39 describes in vivid detail a bit of the discipline exhibited by Jesus.  First, Jesus woke up “very early in the morning, while it was still dark.”  After waking, he went out to a desolate place to be alone with God the Father in prayer.  He then proceeded to gather his disciples to preach the gospel from town to town.  A carpenter’s son, Jesus was well-accustomed to hard work.  He worked tirelessly ushering in the new Kingdom.  But even in the midst of his working and effort, Jesus kept his relationship with his father, God, in sharp focus.  He also made time for gatherings, dinners, parties, and feasts.  He maintained a close relationship with his family as well as his many friends (the disciples, Lazarus and his sisters, etc.).  Jesus showed discipline in his walk with the Lord and maintained balance between hard work and play.

ANDREW:  I struggle to get out of bed in the mornings.  I often roll into work later than I ought.  I spend too much time watching television and not enough cultivating relationships and genuine community.  My recreation time is often kept to myself.  And I lack discipline in prayer and Bible study.  Solomon and Paul spent a good amount of energy warning believers from submitting to laziness in the Bible.  I am determined to learn to heed those words.

DIAGNOSIS:  I need reforming.

Health

JESUS:  As mentioned above, Jesus maintained spiritual and relational health.  But he was also in good physical shape as well.  There is little explicit Scriptural evidence for this fact.  But circumstantial evidence ought to suffice.  Jesus was a carpenter, meaning he was skilled in hard, manual labor.  Jesus walked everywhere, miles and miles at a time.  He was not a chariot-rider, but a humble foot-soldier.  The dude carried a cross made of solid wood beams nailed together AFTER he had been whipped with shards of bone and glass attached to leather straps 39 times, had the beard ripped out of his face, and had his forehead and skull punctured by thorns.  Oh, and he did all this after pulling an all-night prayer service the night before.  There is no way Jesus was a tubby fella.  He must have been remarkably fit.  By all accounts, Jesus was physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially healthy.

ANDREW:  Let’s just say that I am no Jesus here.  I did lose 30 pounds back in college, but I’ve since found them all and added to the collection.  In the words of Wes White, “My body is a temple and I’m building a megachurch!”

DIAGNOSIS:  I need reforming.

Mercy

JESUS:  Jesus was the epitome of mercy.  Even his act of incarnating as “God among us” smacks of mercy.  He had compassion for the least of humanity.  He touched the leper.  He ate with sinners and social outcasts.  He showed compassion on prostitutes and adulterers.  He respected authority.  He loved the sick and the hurting.  He even calls the brokenhearted, the meek, and the poor in spirit “blessed.”  Jesus is radically merciful.  To add to this incredible list, Jesus saw me deep in my sin and shame and pulled me out, showing me unbelievable grace and granting my righteousness and (eternal) life in HIM!

ANDREW:  This is the area I’ve been most convicted over lately.  In the excellent movie Hotel Rwanda, the lead character sought for the world to see the plight of the Rwandan people.  In a conversation with a news cameraman, he expresses hope in bringing the horrible reality of the genocide to light in the media.  The cameraman responded in this way: “People will say ‘that’s horrible’ and then go back to eating dinner.”  I will never forget that statement for two reasons: first, it is horrible; and second, it is a reality in my life.  I so often fail to show compassion.  I keep my money (aside from tithe) for myself.  I waste food and resources.  I have only been on an international mission trip once in the last five years.  In short, I am selfish and a case could be built against me for hoarding the great grace which I have been shown by God.

DIAGNOSIS:  I need reforming.

Becoming More Like Jesus

I am convinced that the Holy Spirit has begun to stir all of these things in me not so that I will sit down and feel bad about myself, but ultimately go on eating my dinner.  Rather, I believe he has stirred these feelings in me so that I could begin to wage war against my flesh and my selfishness.  I believe God desires that I actively strive to become more like Christ (Col. 3:1-17).  That is why I have made a list of things I can begin to do to reform my life.  The list is below, but is not exhaustive.  There are more than enough things for me to work on…I’ve only listed ones I feel comfortable with becoming public knowledge.

DISCIPLINE

HEALTH

MERCY

Get up earlier

Eat healthy (Paleo diet)

Save so that I can give

Establish a morning routine

Cultivate community

Live on mission

Get to work earlier

Invite others into my home

Go on mission

Weekly date night

Exercise daily

Become responsible consumer

Daily Bible study time

 Read more, watch less

Practice hospitality

Daily prayer time

 Get outside

I would like to ask that you pray for me and help to hold me accountable for these things.  If you know me and care about me, please pray for discipline, health, and mercy to become visible characteristics in my life as I strive to live a more biblical life.

Maybe you feel like your life could be more biblical as well.  I would love to chat with you about steps to take to see your life become more compatible with Scripture.  Hit me up here.

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