Note to self:
Think beyond yourself and you’ll be okay.
That’s a little too out of your league, right? I mean, you never signed up to be Super-Spiritual Man (or his knock-off, the infamous Super-Spiritual Man-Wannabe). All you want to do is make it through life the best you can. If someone like me can give you some advice that you can tuck into your pocket and find comfort in as you make your way, so much the better, but you won’t be too dependent on the possibility. But what potential for reaching a worthy destination are you assured by merely accumulating the pocket-change variety of spiritual direction and input?
If everything you do and are is spirit, how can you relegate such a small investment to what connects you with God’s Spirit? Truly, the opposite of actively pursuing connection must be consistently avoiding it. Therefore, how can you hope in a pleasant destination for your life if there is yet no link between you and the Pleasant One in whose quarters alone eternal joy resides?
Are my questions feeling a bit harsh? Maybe you’re thinking some of us just weren’t made for that sort of connection. Yet, how could that be? Rather than trying to reason with you about whether we were made for connection with God or not, let me ask you to consider instead how a true relational connection could be workable if one party were to exclude themselves from the union.
Let’s settle for less, okay?
(I know, that sounds nothing like me–unless I’m being sarcastic. I hope you’re not offended if that sounds like you.)
It’s just that I never like having the least possible amount of anything. I mean, come on! Would any of us say “let’s settle for less” if there was a chance put before us to be wealthy, famous, healthy or glamorous? (See, I don’t even settle for less with my lists–I make them rhyme! Aren’t you proud of me?)
I don’t think so. We would all go for as much as we could get. So why do we treat our spiritual life as something we’re not willing to nourish and protect to the full? What leads us to assume its inferiority to other things in our life? Why does our spirit’s profit not drive our every acquisition?
Because most of what profits us there impoverishes us somewhere else, right?
I wish this were not the case–that we would allow one area of ourselves to be totally mismanaged because doing so might cause another to suffer. Does this even make sense? Where is our sense of living for the whole?
Maybe it is dead in the wake of extravagance and over-the-top living which can only be accomplished in small areas of our lives. One part of us has become spoiled and willful. What shall be the cost of not restraining it? Stretching to exhaustion every other part. And all to serve the one which gives nothing back to the rest.
This is the nature of the flesh. It does not give back to us or anyone else. It is selfish and manipulative. It has a cutthroat mentality that cannot be curbed unless is turned on itself. This is the only way to keep your spirit alive. Confrontation like this is not a worrisome case of taking things too far; anything less would be to let things go too far.
Don’t believe me? Take a good look at your flesh–what feeds it but sin? And how about the spirit–what feeds it but holiness? Which would you like to characterize you? It’s as simple as that. I can’t tell you what to do, but be sure that one of these–the flesh or the spirit–will!
You’ve emptied me in a new way, Lord. I don’t know what to think of Your activity this time. Am I okay? What are You doing? Can I trust You with a completely new thing?
I know I can, I just know at the same time that I don’t want to! I want You to be more understandable, nicely fitting into what I was already was hoping for. AGGH! This is hard. Waiting on You must become waiting for You. Am I really so far off from that?
I like to believe that I’m okay and You like to show me just how un-okay I am. You’re humbling me in ways I never expected. Most of my inclination is to just plead with You to stop. Somehow You hold onto my spirit, causing it to still blossom in Your presence.
I want a life that is far more happy than this. A humble heart does not seem to be worth all this! I want ease, not accountability. Popularity, not purity. Besides I can’t even see any fruits from this. If You’re going to do such a holiness-motivated work the least You could do would be to impress me with the great measure of reward I will receive from it.
But that would that really be part of humbling me successfully? Isn’t the point here for me to see my emptiness and the unreasonableness of my pride? How can that be accomplished if pride and its demands are yet acknowledged and shown great respect by Your Spirit? How can I expect my spirit and flesh to thrive at once?
This Psalm breaks my heart with the weight of God’s unspeakable kindnesses, and then lifts my spirit from those fetters He has crushed so I can fly free in the wonder of who He is.
Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!” Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
I kneel in worship facing your holy temple
and say it again: “Thank you!”
Thank you for your love,
thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
you made my life large with strength.
When they hear what you have to say, God,
all earth’s kings will say “Thank you.”
They’ll sing of what you’ve done:
“How great the glory of God!”
And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below;
no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.
When I walk into the thick of trouble,
keep me alive in the angry turmoil.
With one hand
strike my foes,
With your other hand
Finish what you started in me, God.
Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.
Yesterday I woke up — Sunday Morning — with my heart as my alarm clock. Rather than a jangling bell or a honking buzzer, my wake-up call was initiated by something richer, deeper, more connected to me. At first blush of consciousness my spirit leaped into one of those moments of rarest bliss when the notes of heaven sound a higher, more alluring note than anything the world is busy whining.
Thoughts of the previous night were vacant, and plans for the coming day were forgotten. I was perfectly in the moment. The surge of light that transformed the feel of everything in my little room, rejuvenated my heart and fascinated my spirit.
No, the light I gloried in was not the outpouring of a perfect, sunny morning; it was still too dark outside for me to say hello to the sun. Yet, the gloom around me made the reality of my heart throbbing in the presence of my Savior only more distinct and gratifying.
He cemented in me a more prevalent vision of my Life in His purest form. Knowing Him in that moment stretched my faith across a fathom of eternity I had never imagined or touched before. Dreams impossible to dream flitted into my mind, and desires only He could create took possession of another sinfully indifferent place in my heart.