A Year for the Ages
I guess that the best place to start any story is in the beginning.
The year 2010 was for me one of the most spiritually vibrant, challenging and devastating of my entire life. It was vibrant because I experienced so many points of growth that I am not sure that I can count them all (or even remember them). I am not talking about major moments of radical transformation, even though a couple of these took place. I am talking about my ever increasing awareness of God’s moving in and around me. The ever increasing sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading has grown in ways that I cannot explain. Have I perfectly walked in all of this… Not even close! But I have found myself growing in areas I have long wanted to see it in.
This period has also been challenging and devastating. I have seen that I still have areas of my life that I have not fully surrendered to God. When you see this, as I have, you come away from these confrontations of conscience and, if you are honest, you know that you will never be the same. I attended a spiritual retreat in February 2010 that, as far as I am concerned, broke the dam of God’s renewing purpose for my life. I would not realize what God did that weekend until the year had come to an end. But, as I look back that was the point that I can identify where God broke through to me.
An Unexpected Friend
Connected to this event was the convergence of two lives. God brought a man into my life that would become my brother. He gently demonstrated the love of Christ to me and prayed with me and for me. He discipled me and taught me what discipleship could be and should be. The lessons that I learned at home from my father specifically, and my family in general served as the underlying foundation that God has used to bring me to where I am right now. This is a process. In no way am I trying to say that I have arrived at anything. If anything I have come to realize that any talk of arriving is to miss the point all together.
If I had to summarize what is different today from one year ago I would say that I no longer see my faith as something to be serious about. Being a disciple of Christ is something serious and if it is serious then there must be an equal sign between my life and my talk. Faith = Life = Speech.
A New Desire
Basically, what I believe has to find expression somewhere in my life. Otherwise I am only playing lip service to what I read in the Bible. This has been the cumulative effect of what God has brought to my attention this past year. As a result, I hope to share some of those lessons here. These are not the perfected statements of an academic. At times they may resemble the ramblings of a searching soul. In the end, I just want to put what I am learning in a place that I can come back, reflect, pray, correct and try again.
Faith, like a fire, must be fed properly and stoked to keep the winds of doubt, fear and error from siphoning the life God has promised away from us. I am tired of being frustrated at God, when the truth is, many times, I am the source and root of my anemic and feeble faith.
Father, I ask that you would be with me, as you always have been. But, now allow me the strength to not see the circumstances of my life as coincidences or happenstances. Father, you hear your children. What I ask is that I might pray in such a way that your name would be foremost in my mind and in my heart.
Remove distractions that would hinder me from seeing you. Renew desires that are pleasing to you and replace the ones that I have lifted up out of selfish and fleshly motives. You alone are worthy of attention and affections. May it be true of me. Father, help me to practice this each day, leaving the future in your sovereign plan.
Father, may anybody that reads these and future words be challenged to turn to you. For you are supremely, uniquely and solely worthy of our praise, worship and honoring. May we all seek to lift your name up higher above all others. Amen.