Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Over the past six months, I have been blessed with more opportunities to draw close to the Lord than I could ever deserve. Certainly, there have been more than I could ever have imagined. Coming from a Jewish background in which I was reasonably comfortable, I would have told you that my knowledge of God was complete, that it was correct, and that it was the center of my values and beliefs.
Funnily enough, I would have been wrong on all three of those claims.
There is a time and place for diving into what that meant for me, but right now I’d prefer to talk about how I found the truth. If you joined us for the first Thursday of the semester, you’ve already heard most of my story. You’ve also heard that the biggest factor in my coming to Christ was seeing His grace in the lives of the believers I’d met right here in Columbia. But a statement like that can be… broad. It might be a little confusing, or overwhelming, even. How can a group of people show the kind of love that Christ does? Even more puzzling, how can one person hope to kindle an interest in knowing Christ in the heart of his neighbor?
When I was first starting to attend the Sunday morning services at First Baptist, I heard a quote that sticks with me to this day. It tends to be attributed to American writer Anne Lamott, and goes like this:
“The Gulf Stream will flow through a straw provided the straw is aligned to the Gulf Stream, and not at cross purposes with it.”
I think that our community’s occasional struggles to share the Gospel can be explained in that one sentence. Truly, straining to share the love of Christ is like trying to package up the Gulf Stream and give it to your friends. Coming from Florida, I can assure you that that would be just as difficult as it sounds. The more I develop my relationship with Christ, the deeper and more powerful I realize His love for us is, and the more daunting it seems to give someone a real understanding of what it means to me. However, Christ’s love is not for us to package up and hand out. It is more like the mighty current, and it will flow as it wants no matter what lies in it its path. Our responsibility as believers is not to try and scoop from this flow and take it elsewhere, nor is it to worry about directing it towards where we think it is needed. Our commission is to align ourselves with the Gulf Stream, and in doing so be granted the abilities needed to succeed where it takes us. Often, this trust is all we needed to demonstrate in the first place.
To reference my own words, this alignment is the openness I talked about on Thursday. The decision to be open to the guidance of the Lord is the decision to align your straw with it, and that is what has brought me to where I am. Coming from a position where I couldn’t even tell that the current was there, I found myself surrounded by young men and women who were doing their best to listen to God’s calling, and continue to do so now. I wholly believe that if it were not for that fact, I would still be unconsciously floating about somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.
We have so many opportunities to let the Spirit guide us in our daily lives, it’s just about unfathomable. Just as turning our whole selves into line with God allows us to channel His love, the little decisions to let Him guide our actions throughout the day will bring more and more glory to His name. When Christ walked the Earth among us, His perfect (He is God, after all) alignment enabled Him to bear all our sins and eradicate them in His death and resurrection. Although you or I may always fall short of His perfection, there is no doubt in my mind that if each and every one of us makes a conscious choice to follow His path more and more each day, we can change the world for His Kingdom.
Thoughts from Bennett Lax | Thursday Night Testimonies (1/17)