What Will Define Your Life? (Part 1)

by Tom Andrasi on January 22, 2013

in Jesus, Old Testament

As we continue our journey of discovering Jesus in the Old Testament, we come to a familiar story – that of Noah and the flood. (Gen 6-8)

This is a narrative which does not require much in the way of introduction. More than perhaps any other character, we are comfortable with the story of Noah and the ark and God’s judgement on the world.

A multitude of voices

Reading Genesis 6, we can only imagine what it must have been like for Noah to try to be obedient to God in the midst of a world so bent on evil and so intent on living for anything but God. (Gen.6:5)

The people and culture of the time must have provided a constant barrage of opinions, ideas, and pressures about what Noah should be focused on and how he should be living his life.

No doubt, it must have been difficult while being taunted and ridiculed to try and live a life of obedience to a God whom the surrounding world had rejected. I’m sure that at times even Noah heard voices in his head questioning whether God had really asked him to separate himself and build this strange thing called an “ark”.

On this level, we can probably relate to Noah to some degree. Though God has not asked any of us to build an ark in our backyards, we nonetheless have to deal with the voices of the surrounding culture trying to dictate to us what it is that we should be bowing our knee to.

In the midst of all this noise, we wonder to ourselves if indeed we have heard from God and if our lives and allegiances really need to be so radical. Will our upbringing and church attendance be enough to see us through the maze of questions swirling around us and strengthen us sufficiently to swim against the current of popular opinion? Is my current relationship with God enough or will my periodic apathy towards him have the final say?

It’s not really up to you and me

We read in Gen.6:8  “Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD”. What we immediately assume from this verse is that God chose Noah because of his upstanding moral character. What has been suggested is that rather than Noah finding God’s grace, it was in fact grace that found Noah.

This is an important distinction, and one which has caused me to view what is happening here in a new light. God poured out his grace on Noah not because he was righteous, but as a gift pure and simple. God in fact chose Noah and bestowed on him grace. It was this undeserved grace that caused him to be viewed as righteous before God.

In the same way, it is not really through some sheer act of will that you and I seek after God and so find favour in his eyes – it is in fact God who gives us grace first, and only then do our hearts and desires turn to him. We are accepted by God because of his grace, we are not loved because of our nature, but rather for who we are in Christ.

Just as God chose Noah to be the recipient of grace, so we too are chosen to receive the grace which in turn causes us to go against our old nature which would seek self and the approval of those around us. We instead are drawn to the things of God.

My old nature and the pull of the world is not what will ultimately define my life. God’s grace and what Christ has done will keep me secure. He initiated the work and will see it through.

As heard in church this past Sunday: “Our assurance is not based on our hold on Jesus, but his hold on us.”

So… what will define your life?

More to come in Part 2.

© 2013-2015, Tom Andrasi

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