I have a few intellect-based friends… well, I have a few emotions-based friends also… but in any case, some of my rather “in the head” folks in my view often needlessly complicate (and sometimes worry over “mystery”) matters of spiritual life-…
I have a few intellect-based friends… well, I have a few emotions-based friends also… but in any case, some of my rather "in the head" folks in my view often needlessly complicate (and sometimes worry over "mystery") matters of spiritual life- in my opinion.
If they can't "figure it out" in what they deem a satisfactory way, they get rather depressed and somewhat fearful.
Then again, some more extremely emotions-driven (or emotions-sensitive) folks I know seem to "leave their brains at the door" of the sanctuary or prayer meeting or wherever.
If they don't get the endorphin-buzz they expect (which they -always- figure is from the Holy Spirit) they get upset and wonder if God is involved in their lives… or hop to another church looking for the action.
In my view both extremes are understandable. Both groups of people need spiritual growth of course. So how can that happen?
I get a couple daily Bible devotionals in my email inbox, one being from pastor Dave Whitehead from Grace NYC. This morning's was one of the sort I really like. More on that in a moment…
When Jesus answered the question of what the most important command of God to us was, He replied by quoting an Old Testament verse (not uncommon for Him at all by the way): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind???[a]
; and, ???Love your neighbor as yourself."(Luke 10.27)
God gets our loving attention above all others… next we lovingly attend others. Simple. And of course the most difficult calling for any of us, and I'd bet these are also the two commandments we break/violate most often. I know this is true of me.
So this morning, pastor Dave's devo (nearly always solid, and always brief) included the following:
"Surrender leads to transformation, which leads to worship, which leads to a new way of living for God."
With all due respect to the multitude of ways people come to saving faith and personal discipleship/spiritual formation… much of which I find personally helpful… Dave nailed it.
1. Surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Really, truly repent and give your life, dreams, hopes, despair, the whole of yourself to God and trust Him to do what needs to be done in you and for you- at very least to BE with you through the muddle and mess of this earthly life. Relationship where HE rules, you follow.
2. You'll be transformed by God the Holy Spirit… or if you don't surrender you can be sure you won't be transformed into greater Christ-likeness!
3. Worship: giving GOD the focus, the glory, the attention HE deserves means getting your eyes off yourself and in fact not only praying (both listening and talking -everything- out with Him… and singing alone and together on Sun. morning with other Christ-followers… and all the other stuff we connect with worship -but actually being so focused on Him and His will that we are about HIS work as opposed to sort of tithing 10 percent to God on Sun. morning and living the rest of the week for ourselves. In other words, putting as much and more into what He has called us to do in service as we would our favorite hobby. Worship is -not- about us. It's truly about Him. We simply get the benefits, the blessings from connecting intimately with Him in a genuine relationship.
4. If one will (and not by coercion, no arm-twisting or brow-beating from others) by their own choices choose such a path and walk it out over time, this "new way of living for God" thing indeed happens! Conversely, it will not happen without these.
Now I'm certain there are formulas that make some level of sense, I'm equally certain this "simple minded" recipe for spiritual growth and success in an authentic relationship with God may put some off… but I have seen the fruit of it over my own lifetime in countless numbers of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have seen the grace of God work in me exactly in this way.
I truly dislike formulas as one can "drive trucks" through most of them, but this basic concept of life is more than a formula, philosophical ideal or theory for spirituality.
I've been there. Generally speaking and certainly within the parameters of my own imperfections, temptations and sins, I am there. It works, and it's the truth!
So- here's the link if you're interested in a good bros. daily devo.
And thanks for stopping by! -Glenn