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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Faith is spelt R.I.S.K.

Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. (Rom 12:1)

Last Friday my 75 year old father and his identical twin brother slid along a steel wire from a 5 story structure, 250 metres across Portsmouth naval dockyard to land beside the world famous HMS Victory. The "zip-wire" was undertaken to raise money for charity. My dad was elated with this achievement.

Secret of Success
You might expect to see in a newspaper somewhere a headline saying, "75 Year Old Twins Zip To Charity Success." But good things done by good people don't draw press attention unless they have a good publicist.

As Christians we are told to keep our good deeds secret and that includes praying in secret. Of course we need to pray with one another, we are the body of Christ and we need to be together. We know there is a need to share our amens.

But public and corporate prayer are rarely the place where we encounter God in a genuinely life-transforming way. We may get caught up in the emotion of the moment when worshipping or praying together. But it is usually when we come to Him alone and in secret that these things become consolidated and firmly established in our hearts.

Alone with Jesus
In the wonderful old hymn, "Take time to be holy," WD Longstaff says,

Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone -
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be.

It's not at the convention or in church where we become like Jesus, though we may learn valuable lessons there and be challenged about our Christian walk. It is in the times we spend with our Saviour, within the veil, in the sacred place where He has taken up residence in our life, that we are transformed into His image in such a way that others begin to see Jesus in us.

My father may or may not have been changed by his "leap of faith," to use his description of the experience. But it is impossible to spend time day by day alone in the presence of Jesus and not be transformed from "one degree of glory to another." It may even be a greater risk to place my life in His hands than in those of a naval officer because, unlike my father who knew his destiny was to land beside Nelson's great flagship, "I do not know what lies ahead," to quote another famous hymn.

Prayer College Assignment
Give prayerful consideration to what degree you are willing to take the risk of putting yourself in the hands of the great Potter, for Him to mould you and make you the person He wants you to be.

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