Born to Grow: Moving Beyond Forgiveness to an Abundant Life - page 4

 

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From the Fall 2017 issue of Knowing & Doing:

Born to Grow: Moving Beyond Forgiveness to an Abundant Life

by Robert Saucy, (1930 – 2015)
Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology
at Talbot School of Theology

 
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  The picture of continually walking may be unpleasant and tiring to us. To constantly pay attention to our next step — always thinking about whether it’s along the path of life or along the way of destruction — takes a lot of thought and effort. Wouldn’t it be nice just to be able to get off the road and relax for a while? Or, as someone put it, “Lord, please give me the vacation of a second!”
  We may never have thought of the Christian life in this way. But in reality, we may be practicing it by relegating our spiritual walk to well-defined religious activities such as church attendance, group Bible studies, and personal times of “devotion.” The rest of our life — whatever else consumes our time — is not part of the journey. It’s a vacation. It doesn’t count.
  This is contrary to Scripture. In God’s eyes, our journey includes all of our life. We are always on our journey, making decisions and taking steps in one direction or another. Even when we avoid deciding about something, we are deciding, taking a step in some direction - no decision is a decision. Thus our spiritual growth or heart transformation includes all of the activities of our life-work, family life, social life, recreation, physical exercise (if we do it), and so on. Later we will see that changing our heart involves changing our thoughts, emotion, and will and thus our actions to conform to the thoughts, emotions, and will of God. Since these functions are continually active in our life, there is no aspect of our life that is not involved in our transformation.
  The Scriptures say, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). As the goal of our life is to live to the glory of God, this is also the goal of our spiritual transformation. As such, therefore, no matter where we are or what we are doing, we are either nourishing and strengthening our new life or weakening and stunting it.
  In many ways, the new life of the Christian is like all of life. According to Erwin Schrödinger, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist, something is considered to be alive “when it goes on ‘doing something,’ moving, exchanging material with its environment, and so forth.” A living organism avoids decay and death, only “by eating, drinking, breathing and (in the case of plants) assimilating” life-nourishing elements from outside itself. This continuous process is called metabolism, which comes from the Greek word metaballein, meaning change or exchange.5
  Plants absorb light and other elements from the atmosphere. They extend their roots into the soil in search of nutrients and moisture in order to sustain life and to grow. Animals also look for similar life-giving provisions. In the same manner, human life is a continual metabolism, drawing in life from outside of ourselves. One of the key Hebrew words related to human nature, nefesh, is often translated “soul.” The term depicts the human person as a being of desires, drives, and appetites that must be fulfilled in order to be alive.6 In short, it is our very nature to live by hungering and thirsting for nourishment from sources beyond ourselves.

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