Photo by Matthew Cabrett, courtesy of Unsplash
The bird doesn’t sing for the sake of the listener.
He sings, because the song is in his DNA and he has to do it, in as much as he needs to breathe.
He may sing a little note that is off, or his whole song may not be to your liking.
Perhaps he sings to a land that is not his own, and in that, his song is foreign.
This post is not for all of you. I encourage you, as you read, take what is good. Spit the bones, and forgive the humanity of it all, for I will never cease to be human, neither will you, and God does not consider it offensive to use us despite this small matter.
For so long, I’ve feared that the ‘seed’ I sow might receive a different reading than what I’ve intended it to. Eyes of the Spirit are vital so that the reader will be made wise to reject any error or misunderstanding from my human-hood inflected by or projected into these words. And that is the reader’s responsibility.
My responsibility is to write as faithfully to what I hear Him communicate and to ensure that it is consistent with His written word.
It is each of our responsibility to ask Father to guide us in all the things we do; whether reading or writing, sowing or reaping, rejecting or receiving. We need His wisdom to understand anything.
Finally, read this through the filter of love; my love for Christ and for His body, His love for us, for each of us. In a spirit of love and humility.
So be it, friends.
It is not enough to hear: we are made to follow
‘It’s not enough to hear the Spirit. You might be good at picking up His voice, but if you’re not willing to pick up your cross and follow Him, it won’t profit you anything.’
A seed in the ground cannot grow on its own; it needs water and light. The Word goes forth to bring forth our obedience and through this, life happens.
The Word of God will not return to Him void. It changes things. Interacts with them. The Kingdom of God is like the man who scattered seeds – some by the wayside and some on the rocks, some in the good ground.
Am I His because I hear Him? Or am I His because I follow Him? Am I His because the seed falls? Or because it takes root in my heart and brings forth fruit in my life. (His fruit and not my own).
Our sight needs to become His sight
‘Let He who has ears hear’ is an admonition; for not all who have ears will listen and it takes the power of Christ to open the eyes of the blind. Having the ability to see or hear does not mean that we will see or hear or perceive truth. We need God to work with our senses so that we truly see and see truth.
What do I mean by saying this?
As Jesus spat in the dirt and made the clay to open the eyes of the blind, we need to permit the DNA of God to mix with the dust of our existence to make sense of our daily life. We cannot see things as they really are unless Christ opens our eyes.
Paul was made blind after seeing Christ –dead and dumb to the world around him, he was reduced, in some ways, to a pre-birth state even, being re-made in the ‘incubator of time’ (A term I have borrowed from Dr Henry Cloud). Paul was made blind to this world for three days, but his vision, for the rest of His life was never the same. He went from Saul, the natural man, to Paul, the spiritual man.
We might be Christian, but how informed are our perspectives? Are we allowing God to transform our understanding of things day by day?
Seeing that which is not seen
The Bible tells us that we are surrounded by a cloud of witness. We hear of the army on the hill. The ministering angels of God – none of these realities will profit the state of our mind unless we choose to see with eyes of the Spirit, that is; allow our vision to be corrected and aligned to what God says is true of us, our fellow men and the world around us.
We are not called to be foolish, unwise, avoiders of reality, but we are to add to our sight Kingdom understanding. This is not a process of subtraction, but of addition. We relearn by adding Christ to our ‘natural’ knowledge. (Remember, the spit of Christ, mixing with the dust of the earth, to enable the man to see. A metaphor I’m employing to show that Christ is not separate from our reality or understanding of the world, but wants to infuse it, so that we may truly see, and seeing, be healed. The truth will set us free)
So we come to recognise that that which is not seen, is accessed through eyes of faith. And these are the very eyes which we received when we first turned to Him. Eyes that were willing to see what the Lord would sow us, would go anywhere He leads us.
Have we gotten dim of sight?
Having received this great unveiling, how many of us have grown dim since? Having eyes, they have become dull. (I’m speaking to myself here, a collective ‘us’ and not an accusing ‘you.) The dust of the earth making us blind. The physical matter of our physical existence threatening to rob us of Kingdom truth.
As the dust of the earth mixes with the DNA of the Saviour – in other words, our daily understanding of things is to be mixed with the active agency of the Living Word. We then see life as it was made to be lived.
In the Life of Christ, who, at times escaped the rules and systems and principals of the natural world – were it to violate the will of God (eg. He escaped the city because it was not His time to die).
But who surrendered to their faulty penalties, using the broken system as a doorway to life and life abundance.
Though killed, He rose. Though dead, He bore our life. Though, for a period of time, his years on earth, He lived and ate and laughed and cried – walked our dust, and healed the blind – the whole of His life the divine testimony of the blood and the clay – the spirit and the dust, the spit and the dust bringing sight to the blind (this metaphor, of what is spiritual merging with what is natural to bring about transformation)
It is only as we live in that state of sight – that state of first seeing – that we see the truth as it is, laid bare.
The transition from spiritual children to spiritual adolescents
How many of us are currently spiritual adolescents? Put your hands up, please. Having ‘grown up’ in the faith we become accustomed to its laws or perhaps we feel like we have outgrown our dependence, wanting to instead use our own minds, our own ways, or own gifts in the way we saw fit to explore His world. Again, there is nothing wrong with the mind, the logical, critical thinking, gifts or desire; (or being a spiritual adolescent) everything is made Holy when used in conjunction with God and every season brings opportunity to grow, develop and overcome the evil one. But when we refuse to bring what we have into the proper authority of the Word and Lordship of God, we reveal the adolescence state of our own spirit, so to speak. And how, like a Good Father, He waits.
God is steady, even when we are not.
Like physical adolescence, spiritual adolescence develops healthily only by the goodness of God – the firmness of God – that steady and unwavering tent peg in the sand where certainty and love collide and will does not bend to the weakest link (meaning, that Father does not bend His will according to our understanding of truth).
And praise God He does not leave us as orphans but comes to us. For what happens to a wilful and wily adolescent without the structure and steadfastness of righteous love. Working love. Firm and unshakeable love.
Our limited perspective
We see, in part, for a time. And how often is our view nothing more than a snapshot: a limited glimpse of the angle of something and not the thing in its entirety. For how can man, of dust and clay, see with the eyes of God? How can we understand the complexity of an issue, the wisdom needed for a certain interaction or the life experience of the person we think we are fit to judge?
We see in part. A Shutter, a glimpse, a fraction. What we see may seem righteous, accurate or true in our own eyes, but what center line, what plumb line is there but the collective view of God, who sees a thing, whether object of being, place or kingdom or moment in time – in its entirety.
Past, present and future collide as omniscience swallows all that is knowable, and eyes of love and justice form a perfect trinity of wisdom.
Only One True Judge
That which was and is and is to come – Alpha and Omega –who could stand His scrutinising gaze? Who could stand in His fire, but by it we would burn, if it were not for the perfect love, the perfect will of God.
So why do we turn that which is not love on to our brother or sister? What light do we expect there to be in our gaze, that is not first fixed on Christ, then, in response Him, we look to our own growth, continually presenting our hearts before Him and finally, if and only the way Father leads, to our brother, sister, friend.
By this sort of ministry, I have been led and directed, convicted, encouraged and refocused and through it, I seek to encourage, support, edify and at times, challenge my friends, in accordance only with His love and the laying down of any impure motives at work in me.
If we don’t operate from this spirit, we do a damage and a disservice to each other, tearing each other down rather than building each other up.
To judge another without the Love of Christ and the humble stance of our own regular ‘missing of the mark’ is to sit outside of His embrace, and cast our finite eyes on another; when the very eyes of Infinite God have looked upon that person and said, ‘this is the one for whom I died for.’
United in the family of the Beloved
Having been washed with the blood of Christ, and robed with the robe of righteousness, each of us are clean and pure – embraced and holy before Him.
As we traverse the hot springs of his love, bumping shoulders with our fellow robe-clad man, let us not think that love means ignoring that which is wrong, misshapen or limp. Rather, let us be aware that it truly is something Father sees as needing fixing (or could be that of our own bias, problem or lack of understanding) and let us be sure of His timing and patience and not of our own tendency to thinking ‘all must be said right away to the person in question.’ For He leads with grace, wisdom and timeliness and what we think is right for another can just be a lack of understanding on our part.)
Let us not, either, as spiritual adolescents, full of our own thoughts and stories and inflated egos, think that we dare lay a claim of judgement against the one for whom Christ has died.
But what is judgement?
A good question.
To look at anything without the love of Christ is to find ourselves blind. And looking with love, we find ourselves acting foolishly if we don’t lay claim to Christ’s truths – first for ourselves and then for our brothers, inasmuch as we have humbled ourselves before Him – letting Him perform His divine surgery on us alone: removing the log (which may be so easily returned with the lifting of a nose, the sliding of an eye) we then, if and inasmuch as we are called, encourage our brother to the Physician.
Iron on Iron, stone on stone, as living stones through which Christ is building His church.
We’ve heard it said before – a church is not a building – its sticks and stones, but living stones.
What is a living stone? It is not a dead wood limb – an idle tongue, an unwilling hand or a cold heart. It is not distraction or desire or ‘the way I see it’ – that fruitless branch fit only for the fire.
Christ, in His love, has discarded the filthy rags – as far as the east is from the west has He taken away our sins – the ones which rob and steal and destroy both that of ourselves and our brothers and sisters.
Burned it on a tree.
Now. What is dead, shall we operate in it any longer?
Let these words rouse you! Stir you!
Having woken, don’t go back to sleep.
What does it mean to you brother, what does it mean for you, sister?
Shake off the graveclothes (or better yet, let Him remove them).
The Father calls us, like Lazarus from a tomb. Not for hard works and heavy burdens, but for the good and pleasant and satisfying work of the Kingdom.
For love, which works and truth which splints, for time which creates the capsule, the incubator (see Dr Henry Cloud), the womb for new growth.
And of Him.
And through Him.
Him in us. Living through us.
Our gifts on the altar, in joyful confidence that He who has made them, will receive them.
Hearts laid bare before Him, that He may continue writing His truth upon them.
Blowing away the dust in our eyes; (mixing it with His DNA so that we may truly see.)
Mixing His life with our own – His eternity with our days; His infinite with our limitations so that, being made in His image, we may bring His image to life in this world. His hands, His feet and all that is good and holy – in wisdom and humility – by the leading of His spirit.
Not ‘snapshots’, not ‘as it seems to me,’ but, ‘Where are you, Lord? How do you see it? The thing, that person or circumstance before me. Let me be your vessel and finally turning to Him, in our childlikeness, our limpness or our bounding energy and whatever it is that can bless or curse depending on our disposition of the day – let us take it all to Him.
To the garden.
To the cross.
To the pool of refreshment.
The cradle of life.
Whereby He receives the baby, the child, the adolescent and the prodigal and makes him a man: a woman, a warrior.
Let us agree today, brothers and sisters, to see as He sees. To surrender what we think we know for what He truly knows – that Great Exchange.
Not subtraction, remember, not Him ‘taking away what we think we know’ but adding to it, life, that mighty yeast, that implanted word that has the power to heal.
Inasmuch as the Father is willing and He is willing, brothers and sisters, for He is Good.