rocking the boat of mediocrity
“It is such an important idea - Jubilee - that Jesus begins his ministry with this... He hasn’t spoken in public before... When he does, is first words are from Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,' he says, 'because He has anointed me to preach good news." - Bono
Have the cisterns of your heart ever dried up before? Have you ever sensed your spirit wane from its seated position in what are supposed to be heavenly places? Has your love wandered away, being tarnished by doubt and seeds of bitterness that insidiously weed their way into your core? I know that all sounds really drastic, but I feel like this tension of holding tight to a constant belonging with Christ is pretty serious business.
Obviously, I am sharing this because in some measure, the amount - great or small may be unimportant – the answer to the above questions for me, are yes. My heart unwittingly, unannounced and most certainly unwelcomingly... or so I thought... wandered off into the shadow of subjectivism, becoming too familiar with definitions of truth that cater to circumstance. I became even momentarily disillusioned with The Ultimate Truth Giver and Definer. In speaking with a friend recently (while stuck amidst the reliably timely L.A. traffic) on the phone, I asked (quasi innocently – almost expecting a different answer than the one I got) the following, or something similar:…“So when you are challenged in these ways, totally stressed out and frustrated, whatever the circumstance may be, do you ever get mad, like at … .”
Even before I could finish the question, she answered back, “Of course honey, I get mad, I just get mad at the Devil.” This clear and precise certainly of belief was subtly shocking to my system. My perspective at that time was certainly not a response born out of recognition of the victory Christ has already won for me. Rather, I was upset, at the One who has unselfishly served the matters of my heart and faithfully attended to the whole of my life – offering me Shalom, perfect peace – nothing missing, nothing broken. I confess, I all too often do not take Him up on that all too unequal trade: my burden for His freedom, peace instead of internal sources of conflict. A reconciled spirit given to me in place of a soul separated in any measure from the liberty which Jesus offers.
“Won’t you take this life, won’t you change this life, won’t you come and make me whole” (lyrics by Shawn McDonald - www.myspace.com/shawnmcdonald)
Circumstances do not dictate my joy, that’s the bottom line. I choose joy. I choose to remind my spirit of the promises that God gives me. This is the partnership God calls me to. He’s made every accessibility and availability for me to know Him and to be known by Him.
2 Corinthians 1: 20-22 (the message version)
“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God's Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.”
The questions for me, as brought to the fore through this past season are these… Do I need God more right now, than ever before? Have I been so accustomed to not thinking I need Him that the burning cry to need has slipped away? Have I become content to see life through the limited scope of my vision that I’ve resigned myself to functioning within the walls of my limitations, no longer desperate for His presence - to saturate and fill me with Himself - not anything else, but Him? This is after all why I'm alive, to live in constant communing with Him, crying aloud for the Holiness, the Otherness of God to break into my reality. So much so that HE becomes my definition of reality, no longer subject to that which my flesh so easily bends towards and conforms to. Help me Daddy to love you more fully, to see you more clearly and to honor you with devotion born out of honest desperation for YOUR presence - hungry for the Person of Jesus - Who brings joy and unfailing love...
Romans 12:1-2 (the message version)
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
“I need you more, more than yesterday more than words can say more than ever before -I need you, Lord. More than the air I breathe more than the song I sing more than the next heartbeat more than anything. As time goes by, You will be my side because I never want to go back to my old life.” (lyrics by Brian Johnson (www.myspace.com/brianandjennjohnson)
"Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things- the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on - will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God's promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands." ~ Henri Nouwen