At last week’s Summit we were challenged to consider how best to position ourselves to cooperate in our service of God. Honouring Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples involves our learned obedience but this is difficult without intentional application. Changing behaviour does not occur easily. Also, we might ask what exactly we are to adopt if biblical interpretation is not always consistently understood the same way in churches.
For instance, many Old Testament laws are redundant, but which ones? One rule of thumb has been to bypass sacrificial or ceremonial laws clearly fulfilled by the Cross, but to retain those with practical or moral benefit, especially if repeated or clarified in the New Testament.
Sabbath observance offers one important example worth considering. It derives from a law not rigidly held in the New Testament (Colossians 2:16) but it nevertheless remains beneficial. Some churches take its practice to unhealthy extremes of legalistic enforcement by banning organised sport (albeit to encourage family worship). If, however, we were to adopt its value by choosing both to rest and to worship more purposefully each week, could it not become an example of discipleship obedience offering us a helpful advantage?
Most of us spend an enormous amount of time on our phones, some for essential purposes, and others for recreational benefit or increased consumerism. Many ministers have recently challenged congregations to consider swapping excess phone time for intentional Bible reading, prayer and worship. After all, learned obedience throughout the week is more difficult if biblical knowledge and reflection are minimally accommodated.
Again, follow through is ideally not to be mandated for people who are free in Christ, but our freedom presents us with choices as to how we exercise it responsibly. Could devotional reflection perhaps be aided by the pure and focused silence found in reverting to ‘analogue’ Bible reading, meditation on its applicability, and some resultant prayer?
Summit speaker, Joel Chelliah, found that returning to a distraction-free space was beneficial for him. Many others are also affirming the value of such a priority in demonstrating some Jesus-first lordship in a very practical manner. Could this intentionality also offer a helpful rhythm for more of us?