Friday, July 31, 2009

Connecting the Dots

My son, who just turned four, loves the activity--connect the dots.
When he was younger the game was simple, with only ten dots for him to draw a line to one another to connect.
Now he's on the pages that have up to thirty dots for him to draw a line to connect.

And because he is our son, he has a double dose of "perfectionism." He get's real upset when he realizes that he went the wrong way and connected the wrong dot.

But you should see him when he connects them all properly.
He comes running to me to show off his work of art.
That's awesome! As I take the wonderful picture from his hands to admire.
He beams with pride.

Our life should be a beautiful picture that we can run to God with and say, "look Dad!"
The devil knows this; it's why he tries so many times to get us to miss the dot moment.
What is a dot?
A dot, for us, is a moment in life when you or I have to make a choice or decision.
We choose wisely---a successful connection of the dot to another in our lives.
We choose poorly---we can get off track, make a bad testimony for ourselves; even do some serious damage to our lives, and more than likely we have to go back and retake that "dot moment"---because our heavenly Father loves us that much, He lets us "re-draw."

2 Peter 1:5-9 (NKJV)
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Before I share what I believe are some great "connecting the dot" helpers, please note that the end of verse 9 echoes what is mentioned in the beginning of verse 5.
In a nutshell it tells us, "if you have been saved by grace because of Jesus Christ, then you should be growing in your faith. The elements that are listed, pay attention to and use them in partnership with the power of the Holy Spirit, already in work in you."

Here are three quick thoughts from this scripture that I believe will help us, "add to our faith" and successfully connect the dots in our Christian walk.

1. Practical Biblical Teaching: "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge... " We need to be diligent to learn the Word of God. But not just so we can be a spiritual "know it all." But because it's a key to growing our faith. It's a compass to give direction when we're "on the dot" and need to know which way to go. Biblical knowledge works hand in hand with the Holy Spirit to help us make the proper decision.

2. Private Disciplines: "to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance," This is not my strongest area. However, I've noticed when I give special attention to the "things I don't want to do--but do them anyway" then it becomes easier and easier for me to do them and for me to do a better job at connecting the dots. There seems to be less mess and more beauty.

3. Providential Relationships: "to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. Upon doing some study into this verse, there seems to be some distinction between just "brotherly kindness" and "brother kindness love." In short, the latter is what Christ said the "second greatest commandment is like the first." This is the real rubber meets the road Christian living, but before you can get there you first have to have practiced a lifestyle of showing some "brotherly kindness" to those of like faith.
If you have siblings then you know the fighting is. It's probably why it hurts so much when it happens in the Church. But the point here is that you and I need fellow brothers and sisters that we love enough to be real, honest, loving, truthful, respectful, and compassionate towards; especially if we're to take that love to a word that does not know Him. Providential relationship is one that will always bring you closer to Christ; helps you connect the next dot, even if it hurts. Which means not every Christian friendship will be on that level, and that's okay, but you and I need the people in our life that know how to live "brotherly kindness."

Hope you enjoyed these thoughts and hope they help you when you find yourself on a dot and needing direction to make the next line a successful one. If you have any Biblical revelation on this subject, drop me a line, I'd love to here it.
I'm sharing this message in a couple of weeks to a wonderful youth ministry called, Ignited. God is doing amazing things in the church. Their youth are running around five hundred in weekly attendance and is filled with young men and women who love God and are making difference in their town.

Make beautiful pictures, connect the dots.

1 comment:

  1. i like the thought of our lives as a picture, and though we mess up the dots on occassion, there is a great eraser that allows forgiving moments.


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