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Monday, June 21, 2010

Living Right and Well

"Take a good look at my servant.  I'm backing him to the hilt.  He's the one I chose, and I couldn't be more pleased with him.  I've bathed him with my Spirit, my life.  He'll set everything right among the nations.  He won't call attention to what he does with loud speeches or gaudy parades.  He won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won't disregard the small and insignificant, but he'll steadily and firmly set things right.  He won't tire out and quit. He won't be stopped until he's finished his work—to set things right on earth.  Far-flung ocean islands wait expectantly for his teaching." (Is. 42:1-4)

Jesus has many attributes - some of which are outlined in this passage.  First, he won't call attention to what he does.  Yet, what he does is ever apparent and leaves a lasting impression.  Jesus doesn't need to call attention to his actions because a changed life calls the attention to God all on its own.  Second, Jesus doesn't brush aside the bruised and the hurt, nor does he disregard the small and insignificant.  He has a place for each of us in his plan.  It is a comfort to know he uses all of us and has an eye for us - no matter what our circumstances or background.  He steadily works in our lives to set things right - it is incremental growth that is pictured here.  Growth that is a process of steady focus on the part of our Master.  Lastly, Jesus doesn't tire out or quit - he cannot be stopped until he has finished his work.  We serve a tenacious God who is not easily swayed or discouraged - even by our continual sinning or lack of progress. 

"I am God. I have called you to live right and well.  I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe."  (Is. 42:6)

Isaiah goes on to tell us that God has called us to live right an well.  To be called is to summon to a particular activity, or to cause to come.  Let me go a little further and tell you that God does more than invite us to right living - he brings us into right living - rousing us from our spiritual "slumber" and bringing us into action in our spiritual walk.  The call is to live right - upright, straight, directed, by the rules living.  God is continually focused on helping us to be genuine and real - learning to act in accordance with truth and fact.  The call is also to live well.  Someone who does something well does it with skill or aptitude that presents the end result as something we'd say was satisfactory or pleasing.  God is about the work of helping us to live in such a way that we exhibit soundness in our choices, living in an attentive manner so as to exhibit solid growth in our lives.

Isaiah makes it quite clear that not only does God call us, but he has taken responsibility for us, keeping us safe in our daily walk.  We are under the shadow of his wings - protected and secure.  It is God who has responsibility for both our present and our future.  Later in this same chapter, Isaiah tells us that God will be a personal guide for his people - directing them through the unknown in life.  He says that God will be right there to show us what roads to take - all the while paying particular attention to the fact that we could stumble if he did not prepare the way ahead of us.  God keeps us - his eyes and protective covering never leave us.  No wonder he says we are called to live right and well - it is possible because of his attentive care for each of us all along the way.  If we were walking this spiritual walk alone, we'd crash and burn.  With his watchful eye, we are upheld and carefully guided each step of the way.