Monday, February 28, 2011

A way to close the gap

Have you ever felt bothered about the gap between how much information you've taken in compared to how much of it you've put into practice? I'm thinking of all the sermons I've heard and of all the books I've read and of the many blog posts I've written! If I were to put everything into practice that I've absorbed in those ways, I would be truly quite amazing, thank you very much! And it's the blog posts that really bug me, because they're things that I often feel God is depositing directly into my heart. Why can't I at least be walking my own personal writings? In fact, it makes me wonder if I should keep writing about present lessons learned if the new blog posts are simply distracting me from past lessons forgotten. If this blog was simply a collection of anecdotes from my life rather than a catalog of applications to live, I'm sure I could write on without reservation. But it's not, and I'm now beginning to wonder if I get more satisfaction from writing about what I'm learning than from seeking and obeying the God I'm learning from, for it's not uncommon to find me spending more time writing about insights I've gained from reading God's Word than praying for His help to live what I'm learning. And I'm quite certain that Jesus didn't say "If you love Me, you will write about my commandments." He'd rather we keep His commandments (John 14:15). And as I continue to write more, I feel a growing gap between what I know and what I do -- what I understand and what I undertake. That can only go on for so long until there's gap so large that I'm no longer living an honest life. But if it's the same challenge re sermons I've heard and books I've read, I can't say that I believe the answer is to stop listening to sermons or to stop reading. So what's to be done?

I was recently reading about William Wilberforce's life, and he stressed the importance of desiring God more than simply knowledge or understanding. And he cultivated his desire for God through what he referred to as the "retired hours" of prayer. Wilberforce also saw that there was a link between life and doctrine, and that link was prayer. In other words, the truths we understand can only consistently become truths that we live through seeking God and depending on Him for strength.

I want to grow in my desire for God more than in my desire for understanding. But knowing that as we seek God, He wants to give us increased understanding, I also want my growing desire for God -- expressed in the retired hours of prayer -- to be the link that I need between what I know and what I do. That may mean I spend less time writing, and then use the time that I once spent writing to pray. I doubt that'll affect too many people anyway. And if there actually is anyone who still wants to know what my mind is on in the wider gaps between my blog posts, just look in the archives of this blog and you may find me there as well, praying for God's help in living some of those past lessons learned.

© 2011 by Ken Peters

Monday, February 21, 2011

My struggles living in an I.T. world

I'm not entirely sure why, but I've never been a huge fan of all the spanking new information technology that's constantly out there, or with the ever-accelerating momentum of today's massive I.T. marketplace. At times I wonder if it's because I feel so technologically incompetent that I feel too intimidated to learn how to operate all those new devices. And at other times I think it's because I'm such a cheapskate that I can't bring myself to pay for all this new stuff that gets so old so fast.

But I've never been entirely satisfied with those reasons. They've never really fully expressed what I feel like is going on inside me every time I hear about the latest thing. It can't simply be intimidation, because I've happily grown quite capable of using some extremely helpful (although admittedly simple) forms of I.T. technology over the years. And I know it's deeper than just being tight with my money, because I'm quite happy to spend money on many other things that I could easily live without. There's something else. Speaking in a general sense, I think it's that there seems to be such a collective headlong rush to get the newest and the latest that we end up neglecting the oldest and the truest. Speaking personally along the same lines, I've found that I'd often rather Google something or Facebook someone than simply sit down and pray and read God's Word. And the more distracted I get, the more easily I end up preferring the pursuit of an Ipad (or how about a plasma TV) over the pursuit of how to obey what I heard God say during unhurried times with Him. Yes, too often it feels like these new technologies can create such attention-demanding distractions that it's difficult to avoid feeling like the I.T. world is at odds with God's kingdom. In actual fact, it doesn't have to be that way. When used wisely, these new technologies represent huge opportunities to help advance God's kingdom.

© 2011 by Ken Peters