Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Allowing The Word to Change Us/ Mature Us

‘Allowing’ God to Use The Word to Change Us/ Mature Us
            Had a great conversation just a few days ago with one of the guys involved with our ministry, Andrew Younkin.  Andrew is and active duty soldier and has been involved with us for almost 5 years.  He is getting set to PCS to Germany.
            As we got some talk time the other day, Andrew began to mention to me several things that he’s realizing about himself that he needs to grow, mature through, and get past.  One of them is the idea of leading through influence rather than attempting to control people.  We discussed that although soldiers have to follow the orders of those who are higher ranking than them- they HAVE to follow the orders of those who out rank them.  But, if leaders would not only use their rank and authority to direct soldiers- but also influence them toward goals and missions- then things would be accomplished not only in a more timely fashion- but also the subordinate soldiers would follow with greater involvement, engagement, and commitment.  This also applies in the spiritual realm as well. 
            We cannot control younger believers- even though we are discipling them.  We have to figure out how to influence them toward growing in the Walk with God. 
            The thing that was encouraging for me to see with Andrew was how he said, “I realize my tendency is to want to control people.  But I’m memorizing this verse to remind me how I’m not supposed to try to control people- but to try to influence them and set the example.”   This was the verse that Andrew was referencing:

1 Peter 5:2-3 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
Andrew began to mention a few more things that he saw that he was struggling with- but each time he pointed out a verse that he found in his Quiet time or a verse that Matthew Clark or Jeff Stone had shared with him.  And each time he said he was memorizing the verse in order to remind him about how God wants us to be a certain way- despite what his own tendency or personality might be.
This reminds me of another verse:

Psalm 119:9,11  How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your Word.  I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
The Psalmist said that he would ‘hide’ God’s Word in his heart/ memorize it so that it would help him to be obedient.  This word ‘hide’- actually means to ‘lurk’.  The word ‘lurk’ always makes me think of the the National Geographic Nature shows, where the lions would lurk in the tall grasses and attempt to pounce on some unsuspecting prey.  If we memorize God’s Word- the Word will ‘lurk’ in our hearts- waiting to pounce on temptation or situations where we are in trouble- and instead of pouncing on us in a bad way (like a lion killing its prey) the Word will pounce in on our hearts and minds- reminding us toward the way to obedience.
            In the end… just a great time talking with Andrew and watching how he is allowing the Word (and Allowing God)  and using the Word to shape and mold him toward spiritual maturity.  May we each continue forward in the same way that Andrew allowing God to grow him.  

Andrew Younkin (bottom left) pictured with his roommates from the Guys house a few months ago.