“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means…
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means…caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you…So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”
James 1:27; 4:7-8a NLT
If we are to grow in faith, it is essential that we follow God’s instruction closely. For us in the Oratory, this boils down to three words: submit, seek and serve.
In a libertarian society, the concept of submission is as unfashionable as it is unlikeable. We prize our independence of thought and action. While free speech and freedom of action are essential, they can only ever be preserved through the observation of particular restraint. I cannot plead freedom of speech so as to abuse another image-bearer of God. I may not use my freedom of action to marginalise or unjustly restrict the freedom of another. Social media, talk radio and an eye for a headline is rapidly undermining both such freedoms. Yet, God demands obedience. My life is no longer my own once I’ve surrendered to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
We are also constantly seeking God. Finding God and learning to rest in God’s presence in each moment of the day is the product of desire joined to practical engagement. Our routes may vary, yet our experiences shared will tell a similar story. It is so much harder to press on with God, to find God’s grace, when we feel lost in a vast wilderness; terrain we want quickly to move on from.
Finally, we are not simply to submit and seek, we are also to serve. Here there is no hierarchy of roles and responsibilities. All such pyramids apparently attributing higher and lower values to service are of human origin. God judges no one according to their apparent kingdom contribution. God simply requests obedience to the call issued to each one of us to love and serve in every circumstance.
How can you apply the principles of-submit, seek and serve in your life?
“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:9, NIV)