“Posture is important, and so is your stance, but doing things incorrectly is the way to hurt yourself or others,” my father said when he taught me to shoot a bow and arrow. I was eight years old and got a kid’s bow for my birthday. I don’t remember how heavily it pulled, but I’d be willing to hazard that it was around twenty pounds. I learned to string and unstring the bow so that it did not weaken when not in use. I was instructed on how to stand and aim so that the arrow generally went in the direction I intended. And, of course, I was drilled in safety practices. I enjoyed archery so much that I spent some part of every day shooting for quite a long time.

Archery has many metaphorical applications to spiritual life. Consider that it is faith that grasps the bow of God’s love which is strung with God’s truth. One draws the bow through prayer and aims by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And obedience is the arrow that is fired to impact the target which is Christian impact in the world around us.

Faith is that gift of God that makes us aware of God’s love and empowers us to respond to it by taking hold of God’s love in Christ. Even unstrung, the love of God is impressive, but when it is placed in dynamic tension with the truth of God, it is much more powerful. But if we simply hold God’s love and truth but do nothing with it, it remains all potential and no effect. Faith without obedience is dead. (James 2:17). The strength that pulls that bow is sincere prayer seeking God’s will, way, and help. A bow without arrows no matter how deeply drawn will have no impact. So, it is with the blend of God’s love, truth, and our prayers, action is needed to bring about an effect. Obedience is the arrow. Obedience must be aimed so that it is in line with God’s will. To understand God’s will, we have been given the Holy Spirit who, along with our study of the Bible, helps us sight and aim for God’s will. Accurate targeting is crucial because hitting the bull’s eye requires alignment with God and His purposes through skillful execution. When all of these come together in harmonious synergy, a Christian believer has a powerful impact for Christ in the world.

Proverbs 26:10 states, “Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.” (New International Version).

When we live for ourselves apart from God, we are dangerous to ourselves and everyone else. Our actions bring unintended consequences because they lack holy love, and are faithless, false, prayerless, blind, and chaotic. When we do not live for God, we live for purposes that are not higher than our own selves. We are blind archers blundering about while loosing wild arrows in a crowd. Our actions are disobedience toward God set to flight by lies. We launch chaotic missiles every which way with many people around us likewise firing haphazardly. This is disastrous.

We need the love of God and His eternal, objective truth gripped by faith in Christ, drawn by prayer, and directed by the Holy Spirit. With these in their proper place, we then fit our arrow of obedience to God and release it toward the advancement of God’s holy purposes. This is how the world is helped and properly impacted for Christ.

Contact Pastor Lamb at icumc@yahoo.com.