4/16/16: Here’s How
One of the standard graduation requirements of a good high school is the completion of a 15-20 page research or term paper in English composition class during the senior year. When I taught seniors, to give my students every possible opportunity to experience success with this project, I wrote a term paper handbook. The Stupid Term Paper took my students from the definition of exactly what a term paper is, to a final check to make sure everything had been covered. The handbook addresses such subject matter as how to find a suitable topic, how to organize the research, how not to plagiarize, how to formulate the thesis, how to write and follow the outline, and how to stay on track. I’ve even included templates for the thesis, outline, introduction, and conclusion. The handbook does not merely tell my students to write this paper, but it shows them exactly how to do it. If my students follow the handbook, it is absolutely impossible to fail the paper; in fact, it is almost guaranteed they will receive an “A”.
God is that determined and meticulous with us when it comes to our “graduation requirements.” He wants us to live prosperous, successful Christian lives, so He’s given us a handbook, the Bible. In it is more than the simple admonition to do what He says; in it He has shown us how to complete our life assignment successfully, so we’ll get that well-done-good-and-faithful-servant “A” grade at the end.
One time that God’s “how” is spelled out is in Joshua 22:5. After the children of Israel had taken possession of the Promised Land, Joshua was dismissing the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manassah to return to their lands. Joshua told them, “But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (NKJ). In this one sentence, Joshua lists how we “do the commandment and the law.”
- Love the Lord your God. This is your passion. Make God the focus and driving force of every aspect of your life.
- Walk in His ways. This is your action. Your attachment to God is to be evident in not only what you say, but also in how you conduct your days.
- Keep His commandments. This is your determination. The word “keep” comes from the Hebrew word “shamar” which means “to hedge about, guard, and protect.”
- Hold fast to Him. This is your intention. “Hold fast” is translated “cleave” in some Bibles. The idea is to hang onto God no matter what.
- Serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. This is your profession. “Serve” in Hebrew carries the obvious idea with it of “work.” This is what Jesus meant, and what it means for us, to be about our Father’s business.
Passion, action, determination, intention, profession: this is how to live for God.
Let’s pass life’s test with flying colors.
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