Fence Post of Faith—April 2010

 

Hope everyone survived Hutchison and Columbia Barrel Bash’s. And don’t forget Lincoln April 9-11 At the Lancaster Event Center it is a sweet place. This month I want to pose a question to you. “What made you decide to purchase the horse you are running or a horse you’re working into a barrel horse? Typically we look for a fast horse, a lot of people prefer a big stout horse, a lot of people look for certain type of breed. And I’ve heard some people say after watching a horse run, that that horse has a “BIG HEART.”  There is something to that statement, BIG HEART! Something within makes them great.

 

It goes for us as well; I read a scripture from Gal 2:20 which says “It is no longer I who lives, but it is Christ who lives in me.” If this is true, then our goal as disciples is not to try hard to act like Christians but rather to remove anything in our lives that keeps the living Christ from expressing himself through us. While our natural tendency may be to present ourselves in the best light, to work hard doing the right things, and to try to be more loving, gracious and so forth, it hard for some people to step aside and let Christ live thru them. This is kind of radical in that the focus ceases to be on us and our feeble           (or heroic) attempts to better ourselves. Rather, the focus is on Christ and his transforming power.

 

   Unfortunately, much of the old church’s message has traditionally focused on bringing about external change in people rather than the inner transformation. It’s a lot like some people I know who will wear a cross necklace, cross on their cowboy hat or a nice leather cross on their saddles. Perhaps this is because it is easier to measure the other actions. We can keep score and monitor one another’s spiritual development by paying attention to the external behaviors. This isn’t new. In fact in the Old Testament in 1 Sam. 16:7 it says “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

 

In the early eighties I lived in New Mexico for the railroad and I visited a greyhound farm and learned that only the purest dogs would be made into race dogs and rest were sold as pets or put down. To the untrained eye all the dogs looked the same but the manger said it’s hard to tell which ones have the purity of heart until they race them.

 

It was helpful for me to realize that the word “Purity” in the New Testament does not mean doing the right things or being good enough. It means clarity, being without blemish. Impurity is the cloudiness that comes from pretending to be what we are not. I know a few like that! When we lie to ourselves and others, when we cover up and pretend to be what we are not, when we live in denial and refuse to acknowledge our own sins, we are not pure. That is why we should all work on our Discipleship in Christ so we can become the same on the inside as we are on the outside.

 

You see by working on our discipleship process God is enabling men and women to live pure lives, all the way thru. And one way of maintaining this purity, or integrity is being vulnerable with people in our lives! Personally, when I started doing cowboy church services I was not very comfortable with this word vulnerable! It went against many of my natural tendencies. I didn’t particularly like sharing, and I didn’t instinctively like others getting too close to me! But God didn’t ask my opinion, and I’m not the one making up the rules in this relationship. Since our standing with God is based on our relationship with him and not on our beliefs or behaviors, it is important to understand what nurtures intimate relationships and what hinders them! It is also important to begin to live out in all areas of life the traits of our inner relationship with Christ.

 

So the next time you’re looking at a horse to buy or a friendship to gain, don’t just look at the outside, imagine what’s on the inside, it might surprise you with what you’ll find…

 

Adios Jeff Metcalf