Friday, July 2, 2010
As I was nearing the end of last week, I had a few rocky days. Spiritual turmoil and confusion. No matter where I turn I seem to always hear "the voices" of the Christian world telling me their opinions on this and that with the subtle message that their thoughts are God's thoughts and their ways are His ways for everyone. These voices influence me as I sit in the morning to open the Word...
I feel so unsure when I approach the Word. I read it with many of these commentators and Bible teachers' voices whispering their own particular interpretation of the passages. Stress starts building in my mind and heart. It causes me to question and wonder what it really means that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth?
I read the Word as a former minister to college students with shades of the Great Commission and discipleship influencing how I should apply the passages and I begin to feel that sinking feeling of "oh no, I am not doing enough for the kingdom".
I read the Word as one spiritually abused in a home church gone awry; these very words I read cause me to flinch as if I am about to be spiritually slapped by a righteously indignant and berating God who wants nothing less than sinless perfection.
I read the Word with the subtle influences of many--charismatics, evangelicals, theologians and authors from many backgrounds--each with their own version of "truth".
This was the heart-backdrop when I entered church on Sunday...a sense of foreboding.
As an 81 year old pastor (whom I had never heard before) began to speak, I thought, "How can I add another voice to the cacophony of 'authorities' swirling around in my head?" I was about to leave...the spiritual panic was drowning me.
But this gentle man shared his heart humbly.
"I don't know all the answers--I am still learning." He's been a pastor for over 50 years. He shared thoughts on prayer that are simple with the tone of kindness and encouragement--not as a "spiritual giant" who's trying to push me or convict me. I could hardly hear what he was saying because I was so overcome with how beautiful it was to be with him. His spirit exuded humility and simplicity and love.
Through this humble servant, I was reminded of the Word. Not the written Scriptures but the Word made flesh--Jesus. The Humble and Gentle One who gathers children, touches the broken, meets the needy, heals the broken-hearted, upholds the weak, and even fishes with friends. This Word doesn't make me shy away in fear. This Word by His very nature beckons me to touch the hem of His garment--to ask for healing for my spiritual diseases, to be settled by His presence, to learn from His gentle ways. The Authority of humility and service and love.
So I turn my attention away from the voices of Christianity that demand of my spirit and turn to the Voice of One who offers rest for my soul. I make my focus Jesus--not words on a page, not "right theology", not teaching of men, not principles for living.
Oh, to be a humble servant as He is.
A voice to others that points to His Voice.
Work that in me, Jesus, work that in me.