With it being a slightly quieter time of year, I usually get a lot of time to read. I’ve been looking at ‘The Vision and the Vow’ by Pete Greig. Most of you who are in Christian circles will have heard of the ‘u c bones i c an army’ idea, well, that comes from a poem that Pete Greig wrote a few years back that has become a motivator in lots of things, not least the 24/7 prayer movement.
One of the things that interested me about the book was the link between vision and vow. There’s lots about covenant and covenanted lifestyle, Nazarite vows and Christian orders. Pete Grieg, who has to be one of the ‘trendiest’ Christian leaders in the UK, and a friend of the Army, speaks strongly to a generation to embrace covenant in response to vision. In the Army we’ve been doing that for years…or have we? I’m sure that many Salvationists know what their soldiers covenant is…its that other name for the Articles of War, but I’m still not convinced we get it.
As I read The Vision and the Vow, I hear radical Jesus covenanted lifestyle stuff….you know, the stuff that gets you going and propels you out. So I’m sitting there thinking, yes, thats what we’re about but at the same time wondering why we’re so far away. Then I have an encounter with Jesus, where he brings it all back to me. What am I doing with my covenant? How am I keeping my vow? What am I doing with the covenant love and trust of God?
Over the last nearly 4 years of writing this blog, this has been my struggle…living as I’m called to live and somehow seeking to lead others in the same way. In a new geographical situation, how is covenant expressed? With a new group of people, where do you start?
You start on your knees. You confess that the most use you can be is when you empty yourself of all you think you can offer and ensure you’re running on the Spirit instead of you’re own steam. This is the problem for me. The contrasts between the last corps we soldiered and this one are vast…I’m aware, again, that I’m living and ministering in my own capabilities. I’ve gone from being stretched to the limit, to being lulled into some sort of false sense of security!
The thing that can prevent that, is the reminder that as a soldier and an officer, I have a covenanted rule of life. We’re under vows, under discipline, under grace and under orders all at the same time.
What a privilege! What a responsibility! What a challenge! What about you? Are you living our your covenanted lifestyle to the fullness of all that means? Is there more depth for you to plunder? Is there more of God’s hear for you to understand and more of your heart to express? The answer is yes yes yes…my prayer for myself and for you is that today you’ll stop, look, and realise that the covenant relationship you stand in isn’t a puddle but a pool….there are depths to plumb. If you feel yourself getting shallow, or unable to get in the water past the ankles, its time to lift your feet of the floor and let God take control.
Oh…and go sell your bed to buy this book. I dare you to read it and not be moved.