Lord, each day soften the soil of my heart for Your Spirit’s work.
What I desire: The grace I need to discern wisely and choose well those things that will most enable me to grow to my full potential and serve the purposes of God with wisdom and joy.
Everything is permissible for me–but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me–but I will not be mastered by anything. Everything is permissible–but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible–but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23
Conversion is the graced process of personal integration. Integration is when things hold together in wholeness, balance, and order all seamlessly contributing toward the greater purposes of God.
Question: What good gifts and opportunities have I neglected or misused? Why did I do this?
I think I have misused the goodness of people in my life by skimming along the surface, tromping around the edges of relationship out of fear. Fear of being seen for who I am and found lacking. And, well, there is the other side of the coin–judging too quickly and dismissing too quickly the others with whom God has gifted me and those opportunities to delight in the reflection of Him in the hearts, the souls and the minds of His image bearers. And both sides of this counterfeit coin is pride–a fear of vulnerability bound together with a dismissal of the proffered humility of others.
My to do list is a good thing, a tool to give order to a demanding and chaotic world, and yet it too can drive me too quickly along the path, so I do not notice the wee little man up in the sycamore tree or the bleeding woman.
And mixed in with this need for reordering and reintegrating my life, is the brokenness that Chris addressed last night. May I not cling to His good gifts rather than to Him.
Brokenness is to be an ongoing way of living. It is to live in agreement with God about my absolute need for Him in everything.
And Chris passed out another checklist to weigh and prayerfully consider, one that contrasted Proud Spirits and Humble Hearts.
· And Proud Spirits are both self-conscious and keep people at arm’s length, as well as having a critical, fault-finding spirit that looks at their own lives/faults through a telescope, but at others with a microscope,
· And Humble Hearts risk getting close to others, willing to take the risk of loving intimately, and are also compassionate and forgiving, always looking for the best in others, for that reflected image.
And somehow this ugly unbrokenness rears its head awkwardly exactly with the wee men and bleeding women by the side of the road. Why do I not pause long enough to affirm their personhood? And while emptying my wallet into the outstretched hand weeping in the gravel last night after the service is one thing, it is not my thing, my issue. Money really has no hold on me, but rather the intimacy of kneeling down in the pebbles and touching that hand and looking into the eyes of the soul and resting in prayer before Abba Father, yes that is my thing, my issue. Certainly it’s not in-my-arms Everette-with-the-heart-of-a-child’s issue; she greeting the man by the side of the road with characteristic tenderness and let him know that he was seen. He was seen, with a capital H, because He is Jesus.
And it is the story that I have told again and again, even just returning from Guatemala, to the brilliant Yale/Harvard entrepreneur for the sake of womankind nursing her child in the seat next to me, of kneeling by El Camino and not only finding image bearers but also my Abba Father, powerful and loving in every situation.
Leaving the safety of my lists and my productivity and my capabilities and kneeling before Him and others. So many missed opportunities by the side of the road. To walk as Jesus walked. To do as Jesus did. To love as Jesus loved. To die as Jesus died.
Christ died not only for Man but for each man. It is for the sake of each human soul. Each is an end. And prayer may be to bear witness that the course of events is not governed like a state but created like a work of art, in which every being is both an end and a means. The great work of art was made for the sake of all it does and is, down to the curve of every wave and the flight of every insect. C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm
This is the purpose of God, and all else is dust to be swept up and dried weeds to be tossed into the flames.
Prayer: Abba Father, soften the soil of my heart for Your Spirit’s work. I long for Your conversion, integration, to be held together in balanced wholeness through Your grace.