obeying God

Believer Geriatrics

“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” Matthew 21:31

The longer a person is a believer the more susceptible they become to the diseases of an aging faith. This fact is observable in real life and evidenced throughout the Bible. These diseases attacking sustainable faith, like complacency, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, judgmentalism, cynicism and yes, even self-deception, rob the mature believer of a healthy and productive faith life. Anyone who has been a believer for some time and honestly reckons with these type of temptations inherent in a long term faith would readily admit it is true.

An appropriate term to describe this effect is believer geriatrics. It is interesting that the word geriatrics comes from combing two Greek words meaning “old man” (geron) and “healer” (iatros). The term geriatrics is used to describe the branch of medicine that focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating the diseases of old age. Believer geriatrics then should focus on preventing, diagnosing and treating the diseases of an aging faith.

Having been a believer myself for many years I have noticed both in my own life and the lives of others how the initial conversion zeal to trust and obey God can wane. When I first surrendered my life to Jesus I committed to making Him Lord of every aspect of my life. I thought it was a one time decision. I sailed through the next couple of months with great joy and enthusiasm in obeying God and serving Him wholeheartedly. But eventually as He began to deal with some untouched areas in my life it dawned on me that yielding to His Lordship was an ongoing process.

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Answering objections to serving God

There is a strange dichotomy when it comes to serving God. We want to serve Him, but often it is on our terms and not His. We want to be used by God and would love to distinguish ourselves by doing something great for Him. But our desire is often based on our own idea of how we can best serve Him and what we think we have to offer Him.

God however does not choose us to serve Him based on our desire nor our self estimation of our usefulness to Him. In fact to the contrary, God usually chooses us when we are least likely to want to do it and are feeling totally inadequate and unqualified to do it.

Moses is the poster child for this dichotomy. As a young man he set out in his own strength and timing to be God’s man of faith and power to deliver the Israelites from Egyptians. His ill conceived plan backfired on him and he ended up fleeing for his life. Ironically it took forty years of desert exile to divest him of all spiritual ambition in order that God could finally use him.

When God interrupted Moses’ comfortable life with the burning bush and called him to return to Egypt Moses balked. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” he protested. (Exodus 3:11) This was just the first of four major excuses that Moses sought to use to wiggle out of God’s call to use him. God’s responses to these objections give us insight into what serving God is really all about.

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