Life is about movement. Move away from sin. Move closer to God. Move from one day to the next. Move from one stage of maturity to the next. Move… Move… Move…
Movement may be inherent in life, but it is not always recognized. Even when it is recognized, how rarely is it understood?
I think that one has to recognize movement in life, or else it is easy to become swept into the wrong movement. Movement towards self. Movement towards depression. Movement towards addiction. Movement towards complaining. Movement away from peace.
Currently I am in a large state of movement. I am one semester from graduating, and an uncertain amount of months away from a pastoral position. I have applied to numerous churches, and have many more that I will likely send my resume. I am moving, and I do not know precisely where I will land.
As I am moving though, I am continually being confronted the questions of where have I settled. When did movement stop?
I will phrase that in a less philosophical manner. I am being asked questions about former places of ministry. I am also being asked about philosophy of ministry. I am being asked what I believe. I am being asked Who knows me well enough to give a recommendation.
These questions cause me to pause and think about how long these answers may take. I can give one sentence answers, or even quote millenia old creeds, but will this be an honest answer?
My philosophy of ministry answer is this: love Jesus and help others love him more. Or as one church states it: Knowing Jesus; Being Jesus. But if I am honest, so often my philosophy of ministry is this: how can I look good? What will gain others’ approval? Will this be recognized? Will this preach well?
By giving that answer I am being vulnerable to the reality that ministry is tough. It is tough because it is a battle of movement towards God versus movement away from God. This simply put is the reality of life and sanctification.
My beliefs: insert Apostle’s Creed.
My reality: sometimes what we say we believe and how that comes out in real life can be vastly different. I say I believe in one universal church, but how many times have I said or done something which implies that there is only one individual local church? How many times have I been divisive? I say I believe in the resurrection, but do I live like I do?
I could walk through each doctrine and show how an honest appraisal of them. But no person would want to read such a depressing list of how rarely belief and action intersect.
Rather, I am posting this in order that others can breath a sigh or relief knowing that despite how inconsistent our movements may be, or how often we fail, God still say this in His Word.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (NIV).
God is good. God is loving. God is merciful. God is patient. God is the Perfect Father.
And we long for the day when Jesus will come again and make all things new. Lord Jesus, come quickly.