The "To Do" List

"And they said to Moses, 'You tell us what God says and we will listen. But don't let God speak directly to us. If He does,we will die.' Don't be afraid,' Moses said, 'for God has come in this way to show you His awesome power.'......As the people stood in the distance, Moses entered into the deep darkness where God was." Exodus 20:19-21....."God told the people He wanted a relationship. The people said He could speak to Moses. The result: They got a list." Dutch Sheets

 

"To do" lists can be very handy. They give us a clear guideline to follow in order to accomplish things we feel need to be done. We seem to have a very real "comfort level" with such lists. They give us the sense that we are getting somewhere, accomplishing something. They also, consciously or not, can give us a certain sense of being in control of things. Living with "to do lists" can be helpful with things like home repairs, family schedules, and job requirements. They are pure death if they are what mark our "relationship" with the Father. People have seen the fruit of that since Mt. Sinai, yet we continue to seek to live by them. Why? Lists are easier for our flesh to live with and by than a surrendered relationship with a God who often does not share His plans with us upfront. As He did with Moses, He will invite us into a walk that often appears very dark....but if we will, we will discover Him in His glory and beauty there.

 

We can all too easily fall in love with preaching and teaching that give us lists and steps as to how to live a successful life. Books abound that tell us how to achieve such a life if we'll only follow the steps outlined by the writer or speaker. Then there are those who promote all the "secret codes" that are supposedly hidden in His Word. If we can just find these codes, we will unlock the means of achieving the life, riches, and success we hunger for. I really like what Sheets said concerning the Father's giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. God intended that they be a means of showing first, the life He required of them, and secondly, having them see that they could never achieve such a life in their own strength. They would need a means. Jesus Christ would be that means. Yet, can we believe that a loving Father would not have welcomed anyone who so longed for Him that they would dare "to enter into the deep darkness" where He was? Where He is? It is only the flesh that sees it as darkness. They eyes of the Spirit will always perceive Him there. But the people wouldn't. They feared such a call. They were content to get a list to follow and missed having a Father to know.

The inevitable end of living by list is.....the creation of more lists. By their zeal to keep the Law, as the Ten Commandments were known to the Israelites, came the rise of the Pharisee class, and with them, the making of an ever growing book of lists...rules to live by. Keep the rules, live by the lists, and you had life. They became so attached to their lists and rules that they were unable to see, recognize, and know Christ when He came among them. The same can and does happen to us. Multitudes today may be saved by grace, but live by law. We continue to "stand off" at a distance from Him, feeling it is only pastors and teachers and exalted leaders who are able to know, speak, and hear Him. So we live by our "to do lists" and miss the joy and wonder of knowing Him in deep, intimate relationship. 

I believe in living a life of holiness, a life that He requires of us and calls us to. But He doesn't call us through a list, but a Son. And in and through that Son, Jesus, and Him alone, can we truly live that life. To do so means that we have to let go of all our lists and "do" the one and only thing He asks and commands....and that is to come to Him....in Christ. To do so means we too must enter into the deep darkness. If we will, we will find Him there. And it will be darkness no more. Just light. His light. Will we enter? Will you?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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