March 15, 2010

Savior Absorbed

“Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” I Timothy 4:15 (NASB)

I have been absorbed in two very fascinating books of the Bible lately: Esther and Daniel. God certainly allowed them to come “for such a time as this” in my life. Not that you’d think anything too curious is going on in my home. Life is simply happening. I am sure it’s happening for you too.

The Scripture has a unique way of morphing into whatever we need it to be at any given time. Now before you jump too far out of gear – hear me out. I am not talking about twisting God’s Word to make it suit your circumstance or taking it out of context to make a connection. I am talking about that unexplainable quality of God to speak to our hearts personally and individually through His Word, and now I am trying to explain what I’ve already stated can’t be explained, at least by me.

Perhaps it will work better if I show you. By the way, if you’ve not read these two Biblical books – try it, I believe you’ll like it! Now, I’ve read them before and already learned volumes. Such as, from Esther, I’d learned that although God isn’t always visible, He is always in control. From Daniel, I learned to strive for faith in the fire and in the lion’s den.

Guess what? Those lessons are still there. Yet this time I discovered some new ones too! There are a few striking similarities between the two books and the world we live in today. I can’t believe I missed that comparison before. In both books, the kings and some high-ranking officials mentioned are all highly self-absorbed characters. They are legends in their own minds! Sound like anyone you know? The vanity and conceit sure takes center stage in these medieval melodramas. Then the cultures in both books were used to extravagance. Notice any parallels to our society today? Don’t we appear to be a self-absorbed society used to a few frills here and there? Just thought I’d ask!

I love the way that each time you read the Scripture, the words never change but each time I revisited those pages the text came to life based on my current needs. How cool is that! No wonder we call the Word living! It’s as if the Word reads my mind. Hmmm….

I thrill to the strengthening of my faith by the words of our wise warriors of old. But today, it’s a little embarrassing to admit aloud, I need a lesson on self-absorption and I’m not talking a “how-to” either! Wait a minute! I feel something is coming on! Hey, how about a “what to” lesson? Now that could be helpful for all of us!

While absorbing my lesson today, I came across an interesting verse in I Timothy. “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” There is that word again. Absorbed. I won’t insult your intelligent by offering a definition for the word absorb. I think we all know what it means. But I can offer you some insight into what we should be absorbing. That as those “these things” referred to in this verse.

Paul was writing some heartfelt encouragement to Timothy. If you look carefully at the verses preceding our Word for the day, you will find what “these things” are (with my editorials of course):

• Let no one look down on your youthfulness (if you’re not young, fill in your own blank: let no one look down on your inexperience, enthusiasm, goals, _____________)

• Be an example of a believer – in speech, conduct, love and faith

• Give attention to the public reading of Scripture (could be going to church or sharing your faith)

• Exhortation (preaching and/or encouragement)

• Teaching (by example, by giving of yourself)

• Don’t neglect your spiritual gift(s) (Use ‘em, don’t lose’em)

It’s too easy to become self absorbed in a society that tells you, you’re worth it. It’s too easy to believe our own press or become self-absorbed in self-pity or loathing because we don’t feel worth it. Neither is healthy and neither serves God.

Just maybe we are at our best when we are comfortable in our own skin and allow ourselves to be Jesus in skin to someone else. Any thoughts? You have an open invitation to join me as I fight self-absorption in favor of Savior-absorption.

Since I read the end of the book, I know who wins!!

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