In its first form it led to carefully constructed fig leaves. In its earliest stages it looks like a toddler hiding in the corner before mom finds the crayola mural. In adulthood it looks like hiding behind makeup and hiding our past; it is turning down invitations for not looking the part, fitting the bill or owning the items. For some of us it’s a cold affront toward others in hopes they can’t see through to all that isn’t lovely. It is shame. As in all cases above, the shame we feel is quickly followed by the coping mechanisms we employ. And the things we think will protect us become the barriers from all hope of our healing. There are few things that make us more impenetrable to the Spirit than our painstakingly put together coverings of shame. Shame is the enemy’s strategy to keep us hiding our messes God has actually already cleaned up. This Pentecost let us become more wholly open to the Spirit by naming our shame and all the ways we try to cover it. The weight of those things we’ve done and the things done to us was once nailed on a cross, never meant for us to tow. Living in that new reality transforms our places of shame from holes where we once hid launching points for praise. Contrary to shame, praise for the places He has healed and redeemed makes us more permeable to the Spirit’s presence and grows our capacity in which He can dwell. Commit to naming your masks and the methods you use to cope with shame. Ask the Spirit to enable you to understand more fully and believe more deeply in the purifying forgiveness of Jesus.
June 14, 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.