Thursday, May 16, 2013

Taking Back What Isn't Mine

In Hosea 5:10, the prophet is calling out the Jewish religious leaders,
The NLT says it like this:
"The leaders of Judah have become as bad as thieves."

And at the bottom of my bible, in a footnote, it says
this verse could be rendered
"have become as those who move a boundary marker."

For me, it's enlightening to think of a thief
as one who moves a boundary.
That image is powerful.

If I choose to take what isn't mine, 
I have moved a boundary.
If I keep what doesn't belong to me.
I have redrawn the line.
If I transfer ownership of something without consent, 
I have redrafted possession.
In other words, I am a thief.

And Jesus spoke about a thief.
In John's gospel, Jesus is telling the people,
"I am the Good Shepherd."
In contrast to His trustworthy care, Jesus says, 
"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy."

And if I were to think of my life
as a place where boundaries are drawn;
areas where ownership is established;
spaces where control is zoned.
Then I would say, as a follower of Jesus, I belong to God.
My mind.
My thoughts.
My decisions.
My heart.
My attitudes.
My emotions.

And yet, even though my life is marked out by Him, 
He gives me the right of control.
I am a steward. A manager. A caretaker.

And every stinkin' time I allow fear to get in the driver's seat, 
I have moved a boundary marker.
And every stinkin' time I seek my selfish agenda over the Kingdom, 
I have redrawn a line.
And every stinkin' time I let my tongue drip death instead of life,
I have redrafted possession.

That which was zoned as God's has been taken over by the enemy.
And Jesus told us the enemy is a thief.
And me, I am left aiding and abetting the chief of thieves.

I live this life desiring to trust God fully.
And part of that process is allowing what is God's to be God's.
If I am His, then the boundaries He's established 
around my life
must remain intact.

God permits me the right to allow boundaries to be moved.
He will allow me to play the thief and move boundary markers,
claiming for myself what has never really been mine;
keeping under my control what I never really possessed.
But why?

If the Good Shepherd has marked out my life,
and His purpose is to bring life to its full, 
then what good sense does it make for me 
to enter into the business of thieving?

Each day lived in trust,
each step taken in faith,
affords me the opportunity 
to take back what wasn't really mine to begin with.

This life, in all it's messy beauty,
presents with each moment, 
a chance to give up my thieving ways
and honor the life-giving boundaries
the Good Shepherd has put in place.

My dear children, you come from God and belong to God.
1 John 4:4a (MSG)

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, 
squandering what God paid such a high price for? 
The physical part of you is not some piece of property 
belonging to the spiritual part of you. 
God owns the whole works.
1 Corinthians 6:19 (MSG)

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