Holy Habits

My oldest daughter could declare firmly that she knew that this was something her Dad always did.

I know, because she used that classic phrase, ‘if there’s one thing I know about …’ That’s always a good indication.

She then proceeded to accurately nail down what her Dad was like, because it was indeed something that he always did. That helps her know her Dad, that shapes what she knows about her Dad not only about that thing, but other aspects that makes her Dad the way he is.

So the only begotten Son said this is what the Father is like. He knew because He knew His Dad very well indeed – they had known each other perfectly throughout eternity and beyond. Not only did He know what His Dad was like, He embodied it to the degree that those who knew Him, knew the Father. Indeed the only real way to know the Father was to know the Son.

One thing the Son said to His followers about what it was to be like the Father, was to be holy. That instruction sounds preposterous because of how high, how seemingly unattainable and how incredible that instruction sounds.

Be holy.

Not only be holy – but as one of His followers would state, be holy even as the Father in heaven is holy.

Well. How on earth is that supposed to happen? I remember conversations around that between brethren. Some categorically stating that no one was perfect and only God is holy. Some questioning that in the light of what they saw in scripture. What was more disappointing, though, was how little there was about if we could, how we could be holy.

Thankfully, there were other far more helpful conversations about being holy that pointed to the habits of the Son that He would encourage His disciples to follow who would then encourage the early church to follow these habits and thus be holy.

It would be easy to get the impression that it’s going back to a works based approach to faith as though we only get God’s approval if we do stuff – we work to earn our salvation, as it were. That’s not what I am promoting at all. It does go back to the response that if we behold the love we have experienced in Christ and if we recognise who we are now as the children of God we embrace the grace that then stimulates a response to be holy. We are loved, so we say thanks by living to that love.

So what are these holy habits that I am harping on about? Ah. Good question. Well …

(to be continued)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

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People Building People

He is the leader, but he does not make a big deal of it and flash it around like folks are supposed to bow down when he is around.

On the contrary he is eager to acknowledge the good that others do. Recognising it and encouraging it, he goes around and highlights it for the benefit of the individual and the whole. Sure he leads by example in showing what it is to be loving, consistent and ever dependent on God. For all that he knows he can get the best from others when they know he is out to serve them, rather than expecting to be served by them.

It’s that kind of way of doing things that reminds me that life is best seen when it’s approached as people building people.

I am grateful for people like that.

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Thirsty

This evening, someone will be gasping for a drink.

When they finally have that drink, for a few short moments they will, be refreshed. For a few short moments.

There will be a time of happiness at being satisfied. For a few short moments.

There will be a time when they will even forget they were thirsty. For a few short moments.

Before long, though, that feeling will return. That feeling will intensify until the desire become such that there will be a gasping. Gasping for a drink.

If only there was something that would satisfy … I could do with a drink …

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Pouring Out …

I love small gatherings of believers. Sure large gatherings have their place and I am sure people enjoy that. I love small gatherings.

Among the many things I love is how those gatherings can be prime ground for relationships to blossom simply by giving space for people to pour into each other. We respect each other and honour each other by giving space for each other to pour into each other. That does not always happen in small gathering. It’s not always typical, but it’s something that I have experienced and benefitted significantly from.

Broken people opening up on their brokenness and not finding people preaching at them or quietly dismissing them. Older people submitting to listening to younger people and vice-versa in a setting of honesty and grace. It’s brilliant. There is no main speaker. There is no star of the show. There is no one looking to be the centre of attention, because there’s an understanding that people will pay attention right where you are, even if you are on the margins.

All of those things I have had the honour to experience in those settings. That degree of looking to be a blessing by being yourself as you discover that with Jesus is such a beautiful thing.

Pouring into others for their healing, for their development, for letting out what’s been bubbling in, for the chance for others to have something to pour into someone else for their healing and development.

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Over a Drink

Some people nurse their glass or their cup. It’s as though as they care for the circumference of the vessel as a reflection of the care they want to be held in concerning key issues in their lives.

Maybe if the conversation is nurtured as much as the glass or the cup, who knows what will flow as a result …

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Stop, Look and Listen

When I was just a little boy there was a campaign to promote safety for pedestrians crossing the road and it had a jingle that mentioned the three ways in the blog title. I remember the jingle, so I remember the phrase. I even remember what the drive of the campaign.

It’s good to know a few years later that the advice is just as necessary now as it was then and not just before crossing a road safely.

Not only is there a rush to get this, that and the other done. There is a relentless drive of routine and ritual. It must be done, but never questioned. It just must be done. It has always been done, there is safety in the regularity of it being done as opposed to the threat of the unknown when doing something different.

We get sucked in and before long it’s just the norm. It’s just what we do. There is little thought about alternatives. We just keep on going and keep on doing what has always been done.

Thankfully the grace of God will invite us to stop. There’s a day in the week given to stop. There are times in the day given to stop (not just sleep). That invitation to stop is a great mercy when we take advantage to do just that.

As we stop, the next invitation is to look. What a wonderful invitation – look back on what has been done even as the creation narrative shows God often looking at what was done. As we stop we can review, reflect and be refreshed by what has taken place. But not just look back, but look around. Take in the now. Observe the present. Behold the current surroundings. Not just drink all that in, but then look ahead at what things might be, what path is ahead even for the next step. All this observing is done after we stop. There’s no need to be active doing all the time. Creation is around to observe and joining God on His mission has opportunities to look as well.

Yet in all the observations having stopped, there is also a chance to listen. It is so difficult to truly listen because it is not about the self, it is about what is beyond the self. If we were to submit to truly listening there is much that could be really helpful for us and others. If we pay attention and listen, there is a voice calling. There is a voice engaging and inviting us to deeper relationships, deeper intimacy, deeper joy in knowing and that being the spring from which all other action can take place.

This isn’t about navel gazing and being introspective for the sake of being deep, profound but ultimately pointless. This is wisdom to see how love in doing is connected in love in being that is defined by a relationship with God that often sees Him invites you to stop, look and listen to His heart to hear what He’s saying.

Following what He says in those moments can allow us to enjoy the fullness of life found only in Him.

(Photos: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden

Walking With …

That’s quite a trek.

Plenty of twists and turns on the path and it doesn’t look like there is any safety on either side of the path. One false step could lead to harm or worse.

So for a journey like this it’s good to know it doesn’t need to be done alone. When that is said, some refer to the fact that at least the Way is with them highlighting the Truth in terms of the steps to take to Life.

This is a reassuring reality. Yet there is also the opportunity to travel with others. Like-minded pilgrims who appreciate that this journey cannot be accomplished alone. Like-minded travellers who have progressed because they realise the key is to make it together. They realise that if one should slip, another will be there to keep them from falling. The other will be there to restore and refresh. Together they can challenge each other to progress and keep going even when fatigue sets in, even when others give up.

It’s good to know it will be a case of walking with …

(Photo: Unsplash)

For His Name’s Sake

Shalom

C. L. J. Dryden