How Do You Eat an Elephant?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 17, 2015 3 comments

by Nathan Buck

Having faith in God and living a life that represents Him and His love and grace can sometimes seem overwhelming. Daily stress, personal desires, fighting a cold, you name it; anything can knock us for a loop and we feel like we have to start all over again. Believing and living a life that follows Jesus can feel like trying to eat an elephant.

As the saying goes, you eat an elephant “one bite at a time.” Paul picked up on this same kind of thought in Romans 1:14-17. Take a look: “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”

Paul saw that the intended natural outflow of God's promise through Jesus was for ALL people to be invited to relationship and freedom with God. Because of that, he knew that the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection had to be shared - especially with those who had never heard the promise in the first place (the Gentiles). He says he is “obligated” to share it. The importance of God's message compelled Paul to want to share it with everyone. He wanted everyone to know what it is to live “righteous” before God.

Righteous living is very simply defined as 'right living,' or living in line with God's design and teachings. This can be difficult to do. We need God's help, and we have it through the presence of His Holy Spirit, if we have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. But we shouldn't miss or gloss over what Paul describes in verses 16-17.

He says a righteousness has been revealed, “that is by faith from first to last.” This is a curious phrase, and when I dug into the words of this phrase, I saw the translators had chosen to express this passage in the easiest and simplest way to understand and express it. First to last, meaning from the start to the finish. That is encouraging, but there is more to this expression.

The language implies strongly that these are “moments” of faith. So, we could translate it, “righteousness that is by faith, from our first faith moment to our last faith moment, as it is written: ‘the righteous will live by faith.’”

In our busy lives we often do not give our full attention to any one moment. We assume and presume we know what is or what should be happening, but we usually are not fully present in that moment. Paul seems to show us here, that if we are going to live well and live God’s way, we need to be fully present in each moment with FAITH being the glasses we are wearing in order to observe, understand, and engage. If we will intentionally take each moment and experience it with a deliberate focus on how Jesus might lead us to walk through it, then we will consistently live righteously before God.

If we live our faith, fully present in each moment, we will eventually eat the “elephant” of what it is to walk in step with God through Jesus Christ.

So, how present are you in the moments you are given each day? How can you begin to be fully present in each daily moment you have? What distractions need to be set aside? What assumptions need tempered with the reality that you may not be right, or may be handling people wrong with your 'right' answers?

Righteousness, right living, comes through faith in Jesus Christ, as we live it out moment by moment. Now, focus and step into your next moment.


JD70 said...

What are you talking about? Did you leave out a link in your comment? This post has nothing to do with Job 40.

nathan buck said...

@Bible and science forum - I totally support the need to connect the deeper truth of what words mean in the Bible with scientific facts we observe today. I am uncertain of your point. We're you addressing the blog or just making a random association to a neat fact?

I welcome discussion and ideas and facts that help people grow. I would prefer that the comments section not be used for off topic promotional plugs.


Charlie said...

It's still irrelevant to the OP. It's a rabbit trail not worth pursuing. Perhaps on a different post, but not here.