Songs by Peter J Blackburn
Studies in Active Christian Living and Giving by Peter J. Blackburn
3. Life is a Response.
I am alive. Life is a gift which I have received from the God of Love and which he intends me to share. I am not fully alive if I keep the gift to myself and fail to share it with others.
But life is also a response.
A baby is born. To live he must respond to his new environment to breathe, to feed, to react to people and objects about him. Throughout his life he will be responding.
"…I said 'hello' to her down town and she just looked through me as if I wasn't there!"
"…he was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but failed to respond…"
• What kind of responses are vital for our life?

"... failed to respond..." The words hold a grim finality. Nothing more could be done.
"Like God"
In Genesis 1.26 we noticed that we are made "like God". This suggests authority and responsibility in relation to the world we live in.
"Responsibility" is a curious word. We restrict its meaning to a charge or trust and to the fact that we are answerable for our actions. I suspect that early in its use it spoke of relationship - especially a relationship with someone greater.
Certainly, being made "like God" has to do with our ability to know and love God - to respond to God with positive and active faith. Even if we choose not to respond in this way, we are still "responsible" to him in the end. Being made like God, we are made so as to respond to God.
• Consider Matthew 6.24-34

• The rich fool (Luke 12.13-21) didn't have a worry in the world - or did he?

All of us, without exception, make a response to God! It is an important result of having been made "like God".
Positive Living
But how can our life become an active and positive response to God? Notice carefully that we are talking here about our whole life, our way of life - our response to God not seen as an added extra but as the very centrepoint of life. Note again Matthew 6.33.
What are these passages saying to us?

• John 15.1-5,8.

• Hebrews 10.22-25.

• John 14.23-24.

• Romans 12.1-2.

• If our life is to be a positive and active response to God, we need to consciously include

Life is a gift from God - a gift to be accepted, a gift to be shared, a gift to become a thankful response to God, the Giver.
• Consider Luke 7.36-50.

The extent of our response to God will be seen in how we live, in the priorities we set, in the way our time, abilities and possessions are used.
On his third missionary journey, Paul was promoting a special offering to help the needy Christians in Judaea. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, he challenges the Corinthian Christians to give generous support.
• The basis was to be (8.9; 9.10,11,14,15)

• The spirit of the gift was to be (8.2,3,7; 9.7, 13)

Their giving was to be part of their thanksgiving, or, to coin a phrase, their "thanksliving".
Life can be the real adventure the Creator intended it to be only when we truly live in dependence on him - knowing that we can freely share and give because he is still the Giver.
• Mark 8.35,36

• Luke 6.38

Questions for Discussion
1. "Being made like God, we are made so as to respond to God". In what ways do people respond to God?

2. How can we be helped to respond more actively and positively to the presence and plan of God for our lives?

3. In what specific ways should our style of living change in response to God?

4. "The extent of our response to God will be seen in how we live, in the priorities we set, in the way our time, abilities and possessions are used".
(a) What of our priorities should be different from what it is?

(b) Our priorities are reflected in our use of time. Often, "I don't have time" means "I don't think it's important". Do you agree?

(c) We use our talents for business and pleasure - should we also be using them specifically in God's service?

(d) How can our possessions become part of our response to God?

Adventure in Living. Studies in active Christian living and giving © Peter J. Blackburn 1979, 1999. Permission is given for this study to be copied in its entirety for group use. Courtesy advice of the use of these studies would be appreciated. Any other proposed use must have the written permission of the author. Email Peter Blackburn.