Sitting next to fresh life that beat my own blood in a hospital NICU wasn’t how I envisioned my initiation to parenting. But there I was - worried. So worried, in fact, I forgot to pray. You may scoff at the irony or you may nod in solidarity. Life is sure to take us off-road into unexpected alleys where fear is a knee-jerk reaction. However, asking ourselves or others not to feel fear doesn’t really seem fair. When events that elicit fear crash like a wave, we need more than a trite Christian jingle to keep from becoming engulfed in fear. Perhaps what is more powerful than dulling or denying the emotion is partnering with the Spirit to navigate through it. Because the otherwise unfortunate truth is our worries may end up taking residence where the Spirit would like to rest. Our response to anxiety inducing events is a choice that can - and should - be owned. What if we started looking at worry as an unwelcome indication we were not made to do life alone? Whenever we feel the brokenness of our humanity in the form of anxiety, let it serve as our reminder to pivot our attention to the Spirit’s presence. I find it interesting that the Spirit came down at Pentecost in the form of fire - not a communal bonfire, but a flame for each person. Sometimes in a moment of worry it is helpful to know the Spirit is not just overseeing all the masses, but alongside each one of us. Let our anxious emotions transform into open invitations for a more Spirit-trusting life. Commit to fully turning your attention to the Spirit’s power and love the next time you feel worried, anxious or scared.
June 12, 2019
Love • June 21, 2019
Love. A word tossed around as much as any, but perhaps understood less than most. When something’s been cited as both the starter of war and the motive behind martyrdom, it’s difficult to understand all that it implies. So we know we’re called to live it, but we don’t understand how love should look. I think if God would have us know anything about love, He’d want us to know that He is love. As His adoptive sons and daughters, it is our inheritance and it is our obligation. And our call to love can be summed up in nothing more than seeking Him. Our problem is instead we seek pseudo-love in lesser goods and wonder why dysfunction follows. Pseudo-love seeks feeling loved and goes to any length to get it. Pseudo-love does good with hidden agendas of accolades, amends or satisfaction at the least. Pseudo-love manipulates with kindness and serves self in the name of goodness. We have muddied our legacy of love with our narrow-minded motives. Let us seek the King and His kingdom and, as result, watch love be released on every corner of this marbled planet. Only in faithfulness to the God who is love can we embody it accordingly. Commit to taking a few minutes today to asking the Father to fill you up with His perfect and pure love that you may spill it out to those around.
Intro to Fruits of the Spirit • June 20, 2019
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 It would be hard to talk of the Spirit and not consider what He makes manifest in our lives. For the next portion of our journey to Pentecost, we’ll unpack one fruit of the Spirit per day, reflecting on why or why not and to what extent each quality may be evident in our own lives. But before inclining ourselves to yield more fruit, we must hear this most clearly: our application of the fruits is not a lesson in behavior modification. Sheer will to do good is sure to fail. The fruits of the Spirit are called fruits for a reason. They are the result, the produce, the product. The fruits are not the objective. They are evidence of the objective. We do not aim for the fruit. We channel our efforts into transfiguration and the fruit is what naturally follows. Our focus, then, should not be on displaying outwardly more fruits of the Spirit, but in permeating ourselves inwardly with the Spirit himself. As in any athletic competition or artistic performance, the results take care of themselves. Our part in the game is to orient ourselves to the process. The more we steep our soul in the Spirit through the Word, through prayer, through journaling or any other means of connecting with God, the more good fruit will follow. For we know that “a good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart.” (Luke 6:45) Commit to immersing yourself in whatever fruit of the Spirit we are studying these next nine days. Focus more on receiving that fruit from the Spirit as opposed to straining to manufacture it yourself.