Here are some life-changing thoughts:
I AM MY BELOVED'S,
AND HIS DESIRE IS FOR ME.
(Song of Solomon 7:10)
Over the past thirty years I have prayed that passage in soaring 747's, monasteries, caves, retreat centers, and deserted places. I believe His desire for you and me can best be described as a furious longing. If you don't get anything else out of this, I hope you begin to pray that passage. When you take those words personally, I mean very personally, a number of beautiful things come to pass:
- The drumbeats of doom in your head will be replaced by the song in your heart, which could lead to a twinkle in your eye.
- You will not be dependent on the company of others to ease your loneliness, for He is Emmanuel - God with us.
- The praise of others will not send your spirit soaring, nor will their criticism plunge you into the pit. Their rejection may make you sick, but it will not be a sickness unto death.
- In a significant interior development, you will move from I should pray to I must pray.
- You will live with an awareness that the Father not only loves you, but likes you.
- You will stop comparing yourself with others. In the same way, you will not trumpet your own importance, boast about your victories in the vineyard, or feel superior to anyone.
- You will read Zephaniah 3:17-18 and see God dancing for joy because of you.
- Off and on throughout the day, you will just know that you are being seen by Jesus with a gaze of infinite tenderness
-Brennan Manning ('The Furious Longing of God')
‘A good question to explore as a group is, “how can we make sacred our everyday ordinary tasks?” How can cleaning be made holy? Shopping? Work? Meeting for lunch? Study? And so on. You’ll be surprised at the interesting and meaningful suggestions people will discover simply by dreaming and brainstorming together. Here are a couple of examples: “How can we hallow our eating?” Eat with thankfulness, respect, generosity, and moderation. Eat with those beyond the faith, your neighbors, friends, the lonely, the poor, and so on. “How can we hallow our recreation?” Use the time and context to connect with people, to serve others, to be refreshed, to reflected on God, to connect with creation.’
‘As a faith community, evaluate everything you do – all your programs, gatherings, ministries, and so on. Ask whether you think this is what Jesus would be doing if he were in your context, Is this how Jesus would go about incarnating the kingdom in your area?
-Alan Hirsch ('The Forgotten Ways')
I hear a lot of people saying they are 'Spiritual.' What does that mean? It has been helpful to me recently, to begin defining 'Spirituality' as 'Faith in Action.' Not just some abstract idea or some quasi-mystical existence or a system of beliefs... but It is when we take our Beliefs and the Word of God and Incarnate them. Yes, It's when were feeding the needy or visiting the prisoners, but it's much more involved than that. Spirituality is how I hold my conversations - How I handle disagreements with my wife - How I choose what to buy at the store - Where I choose to give the time I've been entrusted by God with - What I do when I'm alone - How I model for and train my children.
My Faith is shown through my life - every word & action. What are my words and actions saying about my faith? Am I a truly spiritual person? As I lived out the last day, did my life reflect my beliefs in every way? What areas did your actions not line up with your faith? What areas of my life are inconsistent with my beliefs and God's Word? This is an area for spiritual growth. This is an area of disconnect between your head & your hands; between your faith and your life; between your beliefs & actions. To be a spiritual person is to live before God in the reality He created rather than to settle for illusions, even those of our own making. What is most real is eternal life. Jesus said, 'Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent' (John 17:3).
Spirituality is the path of how we know God (relationship), know eternal life (reality - free from illusions) and know ourselves (recovery...becoming a person of faith... a spiritual person). Spirituality is learning to live a "single" life, not a "double" life of inconsistencies. We learn who we are in the light of God's truth - This is more than acknowledging doctrinal premises - This is believing Truth at a heart level until it begins to incarnate itself into our lives and we are changed as a result. The path to knowing God & knowing oneself is the same: Authentic Spirituality - Faith in Action
In His Grip,