Friday, April 15, 2011

Spiritual Guardrails

The Lord has blessed me with much patience and I am thankful for this especially when things come into my life that I don't understand. Our family has experienced much of this, (things we don't understand), on a big scale over the past year but on a smaller scale it happens all the time. Right now there are several things I could think of that leave a question in my mind. As I grow older and hopefully wiser the prevalent message to me from the Master is "I want you to trade understanding for trust, you are not meant to understand everything".

Sometimes I think my life is about meetings but have realized that this is one very important key to unlocking doors. As John Maxwell says "people don't buy into ideas until they buy into the leader".

In the last week I have been on three fishing trips with three different people and have enjoyed every one of them. All three were more than just fishing trips. Went to a fellowship at one person's house to watch a basketball game with a group of people and then out to dinner at a Mexican Restaurant with another group....some of the same folks. Worked side by side with folks who camp up to the camp to help out one day and then just hung out with another group who were on spring break another day. 

Coming up in the spring and summer will be conferences Denise and I will be teaching and others we will be attending. Our prayer is that our house will sell soon though the market does not look very good. Denise will be having another surgery in June and there is a job issue to decide upon as well.

We are becoming more and more involved with the folks at the new church start we joined recently Ignite City Church and seeking to build relationships and gain their trust. The Pastor has great potential is very doctrinally sound and a great guy as well.....there are many ideas and suggestions I would like to share with him and over time intend to do this.

One of the things that has disturbed my heart lately is the lack of believers out there who seem to have no desire to seek a blameless life. Now while we will never be able to live a sinless life while down here on this earth, a *blameless* life is obtainable.  Scripture says Job did it, Titus 1:6 says an Elder must live a blameless life, Psalms, Proverbs and Philippians all talk about it as well. 

So what is a blameless life? This is one where we are concerned more about others than ourselves. It is one where we chose to perhaps pass on or give up things that may not necessarily be a sin to us but others may struggle with.  When we are striving to be blameless, we seek to eliminate a habit or action that someone might could hold against us or cause them to question our ethics. 

It is one where there is a huge distinction between us and the is often referred to in scripture as one filled with holiness. Paul refers to this in Acts 24:16 that it is his goal to have a clear conscience before God *and* man. We sometimes take the attitude that God knows my heart and that is all that matters, not so. I just don't see very many folks these days trying to go above and beyond the minimum when it comes to holy living and a large part of the fault rests with my generation.

Now I am sure not knocking other strategies in the church that have led folks to salvation but is this not how things are supposed to work? --> As the church we go out after the lost, not waiting for them to come to us, share the path to salvation, the Holy Spirit convicts them, they accept or reject and then those who accept are brought into the church where they find something found no where else......which is a group of people who love each other and take care of each other and teach them how to live radically different than the rest of the world and in turn share with others the path to salvation? The blameless life is a radical life and is full of sacrifice for the greater good. It is one more concerned with love and responsibilities than our rights and privileges. 

So what are "spiritual guardrails" and how do they come into play in the blameless life? These are habits or plans of action we put into place that not only keep us way away from temptation, but steer us clear of things that call our actions into question by others.

I can remember years ago when the Holy Spirit placed on my heart one of these guardrails that I put into place and have remained committed to it ever since. I used to do some painting and often it meant I would be in a house doing a job when only the wife or woman was there. Never had I been tempted or accused of any wrong doing but the Holy Spirit said this was not a good idea. If a particular lady said I had done something with her or stolen something it would be only my word against hers. Also what if some other brother was weak in this area and saw that if it was ok for me to do it how could I say to him it was not ok?

A guardrail would be that Bosses, pastors, coaches or others which include dating couples, put a system in place and make the commitment that they will not meet with the opposite sex alone. Another one would be that an organization has more than one person handling their money.

There are programs that can be installed on our computers to protect us. Someone traveling alone staying in a hotel might ask them at the desk to turn off the cable to their room. Another guardrail might be someone with a debt problem cutting up all their credit cards.

There are certainly too many to list. Oh I have heard folks say these things are silly and I don't need to do these things....and every day another pastor or fellow brother or sister we hear about ruining their testimony because of sin. What is really being said when we say we don't need to do these things is I am strong enough on my own....when we are depending on ourselves that is right where Satan likes to have us!