GCC Blog

IF - not to be confused with the other one - by Ken Little

We have all had so-called friends who were friends one day and indifferent to us the next. When I was growing up, teenagers were notorious for not committing to an event in case something better came along. Little has changed as today we live in a world of double-mindedness where people are out looking for a ‘better offer’ and friends blow hot and cold depending on circumstances. Being flexible is all right but having a foot in too many camps and being committed to none is arguably not. In the first chapter of James, the writer speaks of a double-minded person as being an unstable person who is tossed around by the winds of change and is neither one thing or another.


In OT Israel, God set aside a group called Nazarites. They were consecrated to God, did not cut their hair, abstained from strong drink and had nothing to do with the dead. In looks and deeds, they were seen as different from their fellow Israelites. And they were meant to be; as visual reminders of Israel’s separateness from the surrounding pagan nations. “Blessed by God to be a blessing to the nations” was God’s promise to Abraham. Through the Nazarites, God was reminding Israel, and believers today, that we should be the influencers of world view and not the other way around. This takes a deliberate separation of our mind and spirit from the world’s way of doing things.


During his three years of ministry, Jesus was often confronted by the Pharisees over the law even though they didn’t really understand it. They were blind to the unreachable standards demanded by the law but instead piously pushed the view that favour with God was dependent on keeping every part of the law. On one occasion in Matthew 15, they confronted Jesus over His disciples not washing their hands before eating. In Jesus’ response, He said that it’s what comes out of a person’s mouth that shows his heart attitude to God, not what goes into his mouth. In so doing Jesus shows us the intent of the law (and that it wasn’t the law that saves) and the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. It also reminds us that what we do and what we say shows our real heart attitude to God as well.


So where is this heading to?  Anyone with scant knowledge of geology knows there are three types of rocks. Igneous rocks, which come from volcanic activity when magma cools and hardens, sedimentary rocks, which are formed from mineral or organic particles cementing themselves together and Metamorphic rocks which are different again although their origins are found in both former types. Through heat and/or pressure igneous and sedimentary rocks are changed into a new type of rock, a metamorphic rock, so from sandstone, for example, comes quartzite and from shale comes slate. They are different rocks and not the same as they once were. It is this transformation or change from the old into the new that Romans 12:2 talks about. The Greek word ‘metamorphoo’ is used to describe the change. We are changed by the Holy Spirit, so our hearts and minds are now in line with God’s. No longer do we think as the world does but the way God does. Furthermore, we are given power and authority to deal with all situations that might arise. We can’t avoid difficult times, but God has provided a means of navigating a way through them.   


At present, we are recovering from bushfires, drought and now the coronavirus. It’s in these we are seeing the best and the worst in people. We are seeing a nation pulling together, but we are also seeing many people in despair. In this, we can play a role.


If we take the lessons from the past, if we recognise who we are and if we use the resources God has given us, we can play an effective part in this present crisis and others that may follow. Like Abraham, we have been blessed by God to be a blessing and bring hope to our neighbours, our city and our nation.  


Blessings to all