Galatians 5:16-17

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

because of HIS GREAT LOVE for us

Father, we're depravity prone, selfish, and a hindrance to You being displayed in our lives. Would you please give us Your heart of mercy.  

I'm in a small group at my church and we're going through this book called 'The Kingdom Experiment.'  It's on the beatitudes and it's main purpose is practically living the beatitudes instead of just getting together and talking about what they mean (each week there are kingdom 'experiments' trying to get to the heart of each beatitude). This week we are on mercy. 'Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.' 

We were discussing in what situations it is really challenging for us to be merciful and serve when we don't feel like submitting, and in times when mercy is questionably deserved. It was really interesting to see how each persons struggles in showing mercy were so different. From, "I can't stand that person, and I don't want to give surface-mercy," "When I'm drained and moody, I just don't want to, I just dont have the energy to push myself into being merciful," to "I resort to thinking, oh that's not my gift, another part of the body will take care of that." 
Really, really different. But the same is that we all recognized that we get to a point where we are just not down for being merciful. Uniquely, we all have situations that totally DO NOT cater to us acting in mercy. And so the question went to, when we get 'stuck' in these positions of not joyfully showing mercy, how do we do it - when there is a clear call for us to push ourselves aside, forget about how tired or broke WE are, and be Christ (outside of circumstances enabling laziness), how do we live mercifully?

One of the girls in our group started sharing about what the Lord has been teaching her and it was such an amazing revelation. 

At the core of it was looking at Jesus' heart in coming to earth. Earth and the cross were not in any way enticing. They were hideous - but necessary for our atonement. 
How much must He have rather stayed in heaven. "Father, if there is any way, take this cup from me, but not my will but yours be done."
When He, sitting in Glory, looked down on our situation, foresaw His life, and decided still to dive into our mess. There is no greater example of mercy. Never has there been or will there be a more extreme example of choosing to be merciful when everything logical pointed to staying in Heaven. We didn't deserve it, and in order to make it happen, it was ALL Him and it was brutal sacrifice. 
In meditating on Christ's mercy towards us, never do we have even the slightest situation that allows for complaining. 
For my heart take even the slightest turn towards not gladly letting Christ's mercy for me overflow to the needy and undeserving is undermining the mercy and love of Christ sacrificing Himself for us. 

When we recognize this, SO heightened is the NEED for us to STAY constantly in the Spirit, allowing His strength to pour through us to shine a light so bright that Satan trembles. 
Please teach us this, God. We won't figure it out on our own. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's sacred

How sacred are we with this:
When God teaches us something - how reverent are we with it? Do we treat it right? 
Lately, I feel I have been disrespectfully blabbering about things of God as a mere conversation piece - Just talking, irreverently about; “yeah, so the Lord is trying to teach me more about dying to myself, so anyways, what are you doing for the Superbowl?”

I think there is a difference between rejoicing within community over what God is doing in our lives, and also opening up to each other to sharpen one another. But irresponsibly and half-heartedly rambling about the intimate things that you and God are working out is not cool.

God is God. How dare I taint and dirty mine and His intimacy by running around and blabbering about what He is revealing to me without serious reverence and thought. 

If it’s a huge no-no to air you and your spouses dirty laundry - how much more to advertise ours and God’s. We are graced enough to experience Him teaching us things by His divine way. It’s unreal to think about. I think we need to respect it more, and let things REALLY penetrate deep into our hearts and lives before we go use it as an Oprah topic in trivial conversations. 

I had someone (probably the wisest men I know) tell me once, “Be careful about ‘giving away’ the things God is trying to teach you before you really have had the chance to process them yourself.” 

I’ve been thinking about what happens when we prematurely seek guidance from anyone besides God in figuring out. When we are going through a period of the Lord teaching us something - before we fully understand what He’s trying to teach us, and well before we’re able to actualize it into our lives - we’re so quick to run to someone and excitedly share what God is doing in our lives. I’ve been convicted lately to stop doing that, and to wait for more from God - the direct, only, ultimate source. I feel like I have error’d so many times when I get the slightest beginning of something that God is trying to teach me and I say “thanks God, i’m gonna go get the rest of it from a human being.” How foolish! I need to wait, and wait, and wait more, and STAY, until he reveals what he wants me to see clearly. What if God has so much more for us, so much more that he wants to give us if we just stay, and continue listening to Him. 

He taught me this in such a cool way this week - Praise Him!

....Just to clarify - I think so much benefit comes and Christian community is so much more able to be used by God if we are honest and open about things. 
But I feel the Lord asking me to be more reverent with the things He gives me - because he wants to give us more! :)