CRUISE CONTROL CHRISTIANITY (good Samaritan)

I don’t have cruise control, in-fact I don’t see where it would be useful on our wonderful irish roads, but lets pretend we have an awesome government and a country with awesome roads.  Cruise control is a simple little application that allows you to cruse along comfortably on a motorway, you simply look around and match the speed of the cars around you, press a button, sit back, enjoy the ride and maybe catch up on some sleep.  Well maybe not the close your eye’s bit! Now lets just think for a minute about the donegal rally, I think we could be pretty sure that not one of those cars would have cruse control or even a radio for that matter.  They are totally unconcerned with comfort they are concerned with one thing, to cross that finish line, and everything is geared toward that aim.  

Isn’t it true that often as Christians we look around us see what level of obedience others seem to be happy with; perhaps going to church, having a general knowledge of the Bible and being connected/supporting an overseas project, oh and of course giving 1 tenth of your income, after tax!  And we think, yeah I think I’ll pop on the cruse control here, this is a good level, I mean I am taking it seriously! Paul takes people like this (people like us) this up in 1 Cor 9 (using the msg)

“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition, I’m not going to get caught napping!”

But I hear you asking, what then are we to obey, what does a passionately obedient Christian look like?  And that’s a great question, (thanks for asking) because one of the main ways that passionate Christians turn on the cruse control is to start saying too much about God, to talk too much about God, to be passionate about knowledge, to start wrestling paradoxes that are probably just for God’s understanding.  You see Jesus was confronted with people like this who talked a-lot about God, but Jesus wanted to tell them that is wasn’t too much about their head knowledge more about their obedience to the way of God that marked them as part of the kingdom.  Let’s just pick up the story in luke 10:25ff. (NIV)

 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
 Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 I just want to take a simple point out of this story, the teacher summarized the law very well, in-fact Jesus summarized it in the same way in Matt 22.  But the teacher wanted to go further, wanted to get to grips with it.  And asked well who is my neighbor then, of course expecting a standard ‘anyone who’s a member of your synagogue’ type answer.  But what he was really asking was “explain further, what does an obedient God follower look like? I really want to know what God is after!”
And the striking thing is that Jesus here describes that “obedient God follower” as a Samaritan!  This is crazy, on a lot of levels. Like the Samaritan’s were folks who theologically had is all wrong, (even Jesus said so)

They’re political strategies were all wrong
There morals were miss guided
They worshiped in the wrong place
And yet Jesus is saying, that this Samaritan, though he had the head knowledge wrong, he was following God more than the priest and the levi, who had all the head knowledge about God ad His ways.
Actions tell where the heart is, this is why James says… “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Actions tell where the heart is

A mature Christian is someone who lives the way of God, not necessarily know all about God.
now
We need to remember that being flat out obedient to God does not mean being flat out in the late night early morning type work, obeying God is about taking a Sabbath for example.

So let me remind you that being an un-cruise-controlled-Christian or should we say a passionately obedient Christian is someone who strives for nothing else other than the will of their heavenly father.  And this is loving God, Loving your neighbor and spreading this life.  You’ll notice I added one phrase onto from the summery that Jesus made, but I feel a have to because of the great commission in matt 25 where Jesus again makes it clear that we’re to be active in spreading the good news as well as living it.  

Which in closing is what outreach is, it’s simply introducing people, young and old, to the life Christ proclaimed. Which is loving God, loving your neighbor, and sharing Christ’s life.

What hope there is in this life
What joy there is in this life
What peace
What purpose
What realness

We can share Christ’s life throughout our life’s timespan.

What a life we have to share
What a wonderful life and hope it is 
Don’t put on the cruise control!

Amen


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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by farmerdeborah on July 29, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Those five questions at the end made me really think!
    I have a hope of eternal life (and also show jumping at the olympics)
    I have joy that I’ve been given this life, and I am loved
    I have peace that mum is going to come through chemo with God holding her hand
    I have a greater purpose than just ‘living’
    I know how real God is
    Just thought I’d share 🙂 thanks for this

    Reply

  2. Posted by Michael Hayden on July 30, 2011 at 1:49 am

    wow Andy, this is the first blog post I’ve read by you, and it was so inspirational! What you said about us looking round to see what level others are at, then just sticking to that is so true!

    I’m (hopefully, if I can find the motivation!) starting to write a blog within the next couple of days or so…. I just hope I be half as great as this! (by the way, any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated!)

    Cheers,

    Michael

    Reply

    • hey michael! i really don’t have a clue what i’m doing blog wise, i just went on wordpress (which apparintly isn’t the easiest and wrote one then posted it to my fb, but i’d need someone to give me a lesson on the look of the page i guess… it depends why your writting it, i’m just using it as a means to record what God’s doing and teaching me. and having a blog makes me be intentional about doing it like! i promised myself i’d try and do 1 a week so far so good! i really don’t have any advice to give, but do it! and glad the Bible had some impact on you. wish i could knock off the cruise control all together!

      Reply

  3. Posted by Michael Hayden on July 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Hey Andy, I don’t know how to do the reply thing, so I”ll just put it here XD

    God’s been giving me so so many awesome ideas over the last couple of weeks, and I didn’t have anywhere to put them, but then I saw that you and a friend of mine had blogs, and I thought that would be awesome 🙂

    by the way, was gutted to hear about Mr Jag :/ your music really got me through some tough patches!

    oh, also… Good luck for the wedding! May God bless you and Debbie for the rest of your lives!

    Reply

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