When I am honest, I admit that I have played the church game. There have been times more often than I would like to admit that I just go through the motions. I go to church every Sunday with my Bible in hand. Worship songs and hymns have been listened to and sung enough times that I have the words memorized. I've led Bible studies, been involved in different ministries and shared my testimony. I read my Bible and pray. I am married to a pastor if that can even top it all off. These disciplines and opportunities to be involved within the body of Christ are extremely important in the life as a believer, I know that. I think that so many of us upon receiving Christ have this mindset of when we have learned and grown enough spiritually then we can go and serve. The thing is, we have already been given the responsibility and ultimately the privilege to be the hands and feet of Christ the moment we believed. The love we have to share, show, and give is endless. Love transforms not only us, but those around us.
I love when God begins stirring something up inside of me and then in His own perfect and timely way, begins to orchestrate every single aspect of that. Pieces start to come together. Things start to make a little more sense. Truth and answers are revealed.
There is a paragraph stuck right in the middle of the book that I can't seem to get out of mind.
"Instead of being identified as a community that memorizes Scripture, why not be identified as a community of professional lovers that causes people to say, "How they love one another!" Why do we judge Jesus' criterion for authentic discipleship irrelevant? Jesus said the world is going to recognize you as His by only one sign: the way you are with one another on the street every day. You are going to leave people feeling a little better or a little worse. You're going to affirm them or deprive them, but there'll be no neutral exchange. If we as a Christian community took seriously that the sign of our love for Jesus is our love for one another, I am convinced it would change the world. "~ Brennan Manning
I'm restless yet at peace. I'm tired spiritually in some ways yet I am being refreshed and renewed moment by moment by the Holy Spirit. I am apprehensive but excited to get on with this "thing" knowing that I am going to a new and deeper level with Jesus. I am feeling unsure and inadequate but know that He finds me usable and He has a purpose for my life. The love He has lavished on me so freely and unconditionally is the same love that I can share with others. That is something I should not be quiet about. It can be demonstrated in my words, a gentle touch, or even a glance.
Being comfortable and status quo in my relationship with Jesus is not okay with me anymore. Within the past couple of years since my husband and I started serving full-time in ministry, there have been areas that God has pulled me from. I realize that sometimes, He needs to get you away from things to allow you to see things in a new and fresh way. In the times when I thought and believed He had left, He really was there calling me to come further and deeper. This journey is so much more than I ever imagined it to be. God has surprised me many times along the way and I know more than ever what it means to really cling to Him.
I am being challenged to get out of my comfort zone. To go beyond the pew and the four walls of a church building. I want to be identified as His disciple whether it is in the community in which I live, on the baseball field as I sit with other parents watching their boys play ball, in the grocery store, serving at the homeless shelter, or even in my own home. I want to extend grace, forgiveness, mercy, and a love that keeps no record of wrongs. A kind of love that sees and hopes for the best in people. I want to welcome the stranger, visit the prisoner, feed the hungry and care for the sick. My heart wants to love and serve. My relationship with Jesus is deep and real and there are not parts that I can pick and choose from. I need and desire it all. I need His love, the power of the Holy Spirit to move in and through me, His touch, guidance, and for Him to quicken my heart to those things of eternal importance.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. ~ John 13:34-35