Saturday, October 6, 2018

Week Forty - Get Your Vowels in Order

Beside the Well

            The English alphabet has five basic vowels, a, e, i, o, and u.  Bet you already knew that, didn’t you!  So did I, but as I read One with A Shepherd by Mary Somerville I began noticing vowels everywhere!
            One with “A” shepherd.  A – meaning a particular one.  We have a Shepherd; one particular Shepherd—The Lord Jesus Christ.
            E – Example.  The example of our Shepherd is written for us to follow.  His example is one of submission to the Father.
            I – but I get in the way.  I struggle with obedience.  I demand my own way—independence.  She quotes John Piper, “Independence from God is rebellion against God.  At root, our sinful condition is the commitment to be our own god.  I will be the final authority in my life.  I will decide what is right and wrong for me; and what is good and bad; and what is true and false for me.  My desires express my sovereignty, my autonomy, and though we don’t usually say it—my presumed deity.” (p 101-102)
            This is not a new problem!  Look at Isaiah 47:8, “…that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me…” Such is the attitude of being focused on I.
            O – Oh, what sinful and stubborn people we are.  Open to every temptation. Overly sensitive; but spiritually, only vaguely sensitive.  Overtly willful, and determined to have our way.
            U – without consideration for U.  You, who are our loved ones and friends.  We fail to put you first; to consider how our choices will impact you as we steadily move to keep the 
focus on I.
            Look at this quote:  “In marriage we give up our Independence and our Autonomy.  We walk together as One.” (p 102)  More vowels!  And the key to marital success!
            The subtitle to Mary Somerville’s book is The Tears and Triumphs of a Ministry Marriage.  Her advice is biblical, practical, and personal and not limited to ministry marriages, but all marriages and relationships. But back to the vowels:

            Acknowledge Almighty Authority.
            Examine and Embrace the Example of the Shepherd
            Identify where I lives.  Hint: prIde.  Insubordination.  Independence.
            Obey the orders of Our Lord. (Submitting yourselves one to another—remember that verse?)
            Understand you do not live or die to yourself. Consider others.

            It all might seem like just a bit of fun with wordplay, but vowels form the basis of our written language.  Similarly, the basis of our Christian life is found in God’s written word. If we are missing integral parts, or getting things in a distorted manner, we will be a muddled mess! 
            Are your vowels in order?

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