May 28

A New Way of Living

by Leave a comment

tree sprout

“I am now a new person, a new creation, I also must live a new way. As one indwelt by Jesus, I can now live as Jesus did: in utter dependence on God, in a deep and intimate relationship with him, fully relying on God—not

...
tree sprout

I am now a new person, a new creation, I also must live a new way. As one indwelt by Jesus, I can now live as Jesus did: in utter dependence on God, in a deep and intimate relationship with him, fully relying on God—not my willpower—to live the Christian life. Jesus used the image of a vine and its branches to describe this new way of living:

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

Jesus (the vine) is the life force that flows into us (the branches), thus producing fruit (love, joy, peace, etc. [Galatians 5:22]). Cut off from the vine, the branches cannot produce fruit. The power of production is not in the branch just as the power to live the Christian life is not in us. In fact, apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.

That’s why Paul said, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20 kjv). When we separate ourselves from Christ, his life no longer flows in us, just as the branch cut off from the vine no longer has life flowing through it. But we are actual partakers and participants in the divine nature of Christ: “he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 nab). I am not God (or even a god), but I have been given a new nature. My faculties have been infused with Christ’s life and power. ..So the key is to abide in Christ.

How do we do this?”

I said, “To abide means to rest in and rely on Jesus, who is not outside of us, judging us, but is inside of us, empowering us. The more deeply we’re aware of our identity in Christ and his presence and power with us, the more naturally we’ll do this. We must get our narrative right and practice spiritual exercises to deepen our awareness of truth. In the end, Jesus’ way is easy. He said that his yoke was easy and his burden was light [Matthew 11:30]. Typically, we try to do what we think Jesus wants us to do—like you did with your bracelet—by your own strength. We can’t do that. But we ‘can do all things through Christ who strengthens’ us [Philippians 4:13].””

Soul Training – Further Reflection

How does it feel to know that the power to live the Christian life is not solely dependant on us, but God in us?


Taken from The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith. Copyright(c) 2009 by James Bryan Smith. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com

Dr. James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School; DMin Fuller Seminary) is the Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith is currently a theology professor at Friends University, in Wichita, Kansas, and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of eight books, most notably The Apprentice Series (InterVarsity Press), which continue to shape the work of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith’s other titles include Devotional Classics (with Richard J. Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Room of Marvels, and Hidden in Christ.

 

Posted in A Good and Beautiful Life, Blog, Identity, Vision | Tags: / / /

More Less
May 12

Growing Requires Daring to Look at Who We Really Are

by Leave a comment

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139 1-4; 23-24 (NRSV) I have been an enabler (now recovering) most of my life: I looked

...

“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139 1-4; 23-24 (NRSV)

I have been an enabler (now recovering) most of my life: I looked for and attracted needy people and proceeded to try to “fix them.”  I felt responsible for other people’s feelings, thoughts, actions, needs, and well-being. I was happiest when I was busily attempting to bring calm to chaotic situations.  I did this even in the face of logic which clearly demonstrated that this behavior was foolhardy and even dangerous and in spite of the objections of my family and friends. Those actions had severe consequences which still affect my life. And all the while I was convinced that this lifestyle was what God was calling me to do.

This behavior controlled my life because I was unable to step outside myself and observe my own behavior. Until a counselor helped me to look at myself and discern the motivation of my actions and reactions, I saw no need to change, although my life was falling apart all around me.

What I am describing here is a lack of consciousness.   Consciousness is “me seeing me seeing” (Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water, Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, p. 85).  Consciousness is the awareness that empowers me to:

  • step outside myself
  • discern my behavior
  • choose to change my behavior or go ahead with that behavior

The opposite of consciousness is acting out of instinct or from thoughts and experiences of which we are unaware.  An example of this “unconscious” behavior would be sudden anger or violence that makes us think, “Where in the world did that come from?” or crippling fear that we cannot explain.

When my enabling controlled me, I could/would not see that I was choosing to be manipulated.  I could/would not understand or see that I was taking actions that hurt me as well as the person I was trying to fix.  When I took a young man just released from jail to my home to stay because his parents wouldn’t let him return to their home, I couldn’t see that his parents may have had good reason to keep him away. Being “unconscious” kept me in denial of the dangers of my own behavior.

As I began my spiritual formation journey years later, I discovered that God used that counselor to help me understand and change my behavior, but that the Holy Spirit was the power behind my transformation from someone interested only in codependent relationships to someone who could form and enjoy healthy relationships.  My perception is that consciousness is the conduit the Holy Spirit uses to speak into our lives.  If we are willing to practice stepping out- side of ourselves, the Holy Spirit can guide, comfort, teach, remind, and empower us, as Scripture teaches he will (John 14).

“Consciousness” is an awareness we can learn and practice.  A counselor who was in one of the classes I teach told the group that looking back on our past to see how our parents or grandparents may have influenced our lives is one way of learning to step outside ourselves and become observers. Learning about “false narratives” also gives us a framework to observe and assess our own perceptions of the world.

The spiritual discipline of “detachment” is also a way that we can learn to develop consciousness. Ignatius of Loyola talks about “making use of those things that help bring us closer to God and leaving aside those things that don’t” (In First Principal and Foundation quoted by Margaret Silf in her book Inner Compass).  Silf uses the image of God as a midwife to help us picture what detachment means:

For all of us, our first experience of the pain and promise of detachment was the hour we left our mother’s womb and, screaming with shock,  entered human life on earth.  In the seemingly brutal act of cutting the umbilical cord, which separated us from the prenatal food supply, we were in fact set free to live our own lives.

So it began, and so it continues in the ongoing call to let go of what is not (or is no longer) leading us closer to God, and to choose instead those ways that for us personally lead us closer to him and to the fulfillment of his dream for us.  (Inner Compass, p. 108)

Richard Rohr says that “for properly detached persons . . . . deeper consciousness comes rather naturally.  They discover their own soul – which is their deepest self – and yet have access to a Larger Knowing beyond themselves.”  He goes on to say that when Jesus speaks of “giving us the Spirit,” he is saying he is “sharing his consciousness with us. One whose soul is thus awakened actually has ‘the mind of Christ’ (I Cor. 2 10-16)  (Breathing Under Water, p. 86-87).

Mulling it Over – Take on the discipline of praying this prayer every day.  “Lord, give me a growing spirit of detachment from anything that separates me from you” (Richard Foster).  Pay attention to the effect it has on your willingness to look at yourself from outside yourself.


Karen Bables is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Holland, Michigan.  Recently retired from work as a Director of Spiritual Formation, she now spends her time writing.  She blogs at www.livingasapprentices.com.

Posted in A Good and Beautiful Life, Blog, Narrative, Soul Training, Spiritural Growth | Tags: / / / / / / / / /

More Less
Mar 03

Heavenly Reverie – Cultivating the Mind of Christ Jesus

by Leave a comment

Part Two – Sacred Worth  (Read Jim’s first “Heavenly Reverie” blog here) Heavenly Reverie A State of Being Pleasantly Lost in the Noetic Environment of Jesus “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). I want to see reality the way Jesus

...

Part Two – Sacred Worth  (Read Jim’s first “Heavenly Reverie” blog here)

Heavenly Reverie

A State of Being Pleasantly Lost in

the Noetic Environment of Jesus

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

I want to see reality the way Jesus did.  I want to have the mind of Christ, as Paul urges us in the verse above. These blogs are my reflections on what I am coming to understand about the noetic environment of Jesus.  Noetic environment means reality as Jesus understood it, or, what was going on in his mind. In this installment I want to talk about how Jesus understood the human person and their sacred worth.

We live in a world where people are identified and labeled by externals.  We lump people into ethnic, religious and national groups.  Or we see people as a part of a consumer group, and we label people by economic status.  Finally, we are trained to see people as either good or bad, holy or sinful, based on their behavior:  “Stay away from her, she is a bad person.” In doing so we reduce people to commodities and consumers.  As a result, it becomes difficult to see people as persons of sacred worth.

However, Jesus refused to treat people as their external labels, box them in, and treat them according to their ethnic or religious group, social status or class, or their piety or sinfulness.  One provocative moment in the life of Jesus concerns his interaction with a woman in Matthew 15:21-28.  It is a passage that troubled me for years, but now brings me joy.[i]

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.  Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.”  But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Without knowing the background—and the foreground—to this story, it appears that Jesus is not only unkind, he is an elitist, perhaps even a racist.  We are going to have to take a closer look to understand this odd story.

Matthew describes the woman as a “Canaanite.”  This was a word that no one in Jesus’ day used to describe the Gentiles.  It was the name used in the Old Testament to describe the people who occupied the promised land of Canaan, the people that Joshua was charged with totally annihilating.  Calling someone a Canaanite in Jesus’ day would be like calling a British person a Saxon, or a Swedish person a Viking.  So we know something is up when Matthew uses this name (the one and only time it occurs in the New Testament).

The woman is following Jesus and his disciples, shouting at him to heal her daughter.  His disciples tell Jesus to tell the woman to bug off.  Jesus instead says to the woman, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  This may sound rude, but in fact, in light of the recent events this was more of a sigh of despair.  John the Baptist has recently been murdered, Jesus’ ministry is failing, and the Pharisees are plotting his murder at that very moment.  Jesus’ reply was essentially, “I am on a difficult mission.  My own people are lost, and I must attend to them.”

The mother then kneels before Jesus, an act of complete submission, and says, “Lord, help me.”  One would expect a little compassion, but his next line sounds worse than the first:  “It is not fair to throw the children’s food to the dogs.”  Ouch.  She persists with a clever reply: “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Jesus seems delighted in this response, praises her faith, and tells her that her request has been granted, and her daughter is healed.  What just happened?

Perhaps she awakened Jesus’ memory of the original call of Abraham that “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him” (Gen. 18:18), because in essence she is saying, “I know your mission is to save your people first, but your ultimate mission is also for the rest of us.  Go ahead and feed your kids, but could you let my daughter have a scrap?”  Jesus says. “Great is your faith.” I believe he intentionally went into this region (Tyre and Sidon, Gentile territory) to have this kind of interaction, so that he could proclaim that his mission now included the Gentiles.  Her persistent pleading demonstrated her faith that Jesus could, in fact, heal her daughter—even though she had no rights to it—gave Jesus the chance to show how he is making all things new.  By granting her request, Jesus’ mission to the Gentiles has now begun.  He had healed Gentiles before, but never in Gentile territory.  Something radical has just happened.  But it gets even better.

As I mentioned, what happens immediately after this story is also important in understanding what Jesus is ultimately doing.  The next thing Jesus does is heal hundreds of people—all Gentiles (nee Canaanites).  We can infer they are Gentiles because it says they all “praised the God of Israel” (code for:  “they were Gentiles”).  Then something even more profound follows.  The crowd of Gentiles grows to 4,000 (second only to the 5,000 he fed with the loaves and fishes, in the previous chapter).  As in that story, Jesus has compassion on this crowd, and performs the same miracle of feeding this huge crowd with only a small amount of food (the abundance narrative I wrote about in the previous blog).  But the end of the story is where it gets good.

In the feeding of the 5,000 (Jews) there were twelve baskets of leftovers.  This signified the twelve tribes of Israel.  When he feeds the 4,000 (Gentiles) there are seven baskets left over.   As I always tell my students, pay attention to the details in the Bible because there are no wasted words.  Seven signifies the seven tribes of the Canaanites, the very ones that Moses told Joshua to destroy totally (Deut. 7:1-5), ordering them to show no mercy, because any mingling with these godless people might lead the Israelites astray.

Let me re-cap what has happened.  Jesus has shown mercy and compassion on the very people that Moses said were godless.  Brian McLaren writes, “Jesus seizes the old narrative, shakes it, turns it inside out, and offers a new story that reframes a future radically different from the past.”[ii]

At the Apprentice Institute we talk, and speak, and write a lot about narratives.  Our narratives shape who we are and inform what we do.  Our narratives are crucial.  If they are false, limited, or toxic, they can damage our souls, and lead to apathy and even violence.  Jesus is, in this story, isolating an ancient narrative, showing that it is false, and offering us a new one, one that is true, namely, all people are of sacred worth.  He demonstrated this constantly in his actions, speaking to and blessing an adulterous Samaritan woman, dining with tax collectors and prostitutes, healing the loved ones of the hated Roman soldiers.

Some may react to this story by saying, “Jesus is fickle.  He didn’t want to help the Gentile lady, then he caved, then he went crazy and started healing—and feeding—a ton of Gentiles.  He seems unstable.”  I do not read the story this way.  I believe that Jesus knew what he was doing all along.  He knew how deeply entrenched the narrative was in Israel—and among the Romans who occupied Israel.  It goes like this:  “Destroy your enemies, for blessed are the violent victors.”  That is what the Israelites lived with every day under Roman occupation.  Each day they saw their own people pinned up like bugs to die on crosses, a sign of Roman domination.  Jesus reverses the violence narrative, a narrative held by his own people.  It was in the air they breathed.  Jesus was calling it out.

In Jesus’ noetic environment, all people are sacred.  Therefore, we do not kill our enemies, we love them.  We do not curse our enemies, we pray for and bless them.  The violence narrative—one that is upheld only when we see people as things—is alive and well today.  It is in the newspapers every morning.  But I am called by Jesus not to judge others.  However, I see the narrative in my own heart when I judge the person who smokes, or is obese.  I see it in my own heart when I feel greater sadness for the American soldiers who die than the Iraqi soldiers who share the same fate.  I see it in my own heart when I see a homeless person holding a sign at the stoplight and my first response is to wonder if his plight is legitimate.  I am longing for the day when my first thought is, “How sacred that person is . . . wow.”

Transformation into Christlikeness is not easy.  But it is freeing.  I find my own false narratives—while comfortable and safe—are not conducive to joy.  I want to continue to get lost in the reverie of Jesus’ noetic environment.  It hurts at first, but abiding in his mind is healing to my soul.  I love the line from the Christmas hymn, O Holy Night:  “and He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”  Wouldn’t it be great if that was said of each of us:  “Wherever we go, people feel their sacred worth.”  For that to happen, we are going to have to see them as Jesus did.

 

 

[i]   This understanding of the passage comes from Grant LeMarquand, and stated in Brian McLaren’s book, Everything Must Change, pp. 154 ff.

[ii]  Ibid., p. 158


 

Dr. JaView More: http://jillnicole.pass.us/apprentice-teammes Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School; DMin Fuller Seminary) is the Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith is currently a theology professor at Friends University, in Wichita, Kansas, and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of eight books, most notably The Apprentice Series (InterVarsity Press), which continue to shape the work of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith’s other titles include Devotional Classics (with Richard J. Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Room of Marvels, and Hidden in Christ.

Posted in A Good and Beautiful Life, Apprenticeship, Blog, Heavenly Reverie, Love, Love, Narrative | Tags: / / / / / / / /

More Less
Feb 17

Heavenly Reverie – Cultivating the Mind of Christ Jesus

by Leave a comment

Part One – Scarcity and Abundance I was recently at one of my favorite coffee shops, named Reverie.  On one of the walls they have written, in large letters: REVERIE:  A STATE OF BEING PLEASANTLY LOST IN ONE’S THOUGHTS My first thought was, “I don’t

...

Part One – Scarcity and Abundance

I was recently at one of my favorite coffee shops, named Reverie.  On one of the walls they have written, in large letters:

REVERIE:  A STATE OF BEING PLEASANTLY LOST IN ONE’S THOUGHTS

My first thought was, “I don’t want to be lost in my thoughts, I want to be pleasantly lost in the thoughts of Jesus.”  I have come to believe that the primary work in Christian spiritual formation is seeing and knowing the world (God, creation, ourselves, life’s meaning, etc.) as Jesus saw it.  The scholarly way of saying it is “living in the noetic environment of Jesus” (Mark McIntosh).  The simple way to say it is, “To know reality as Jesus understood it.”

Dallas Willard put it this way:  “The process of spiritual formation in Christ is one of progressively replacing . . . destructive images and ideas with the images and ideas that filled the mind of Jesus himself.  Spiritual formation in Christ moves toward a total interchange of our ideas and images for his.”  It is clear from Paul’s epistles that what we think about, what we set our minds on, is crucial in our formation.  The two verses that best describe this are these:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:2)

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5)

What does it mean to set our minds on “things above,” or to have the “mind” of Jesus?  It is a new way of perception.  It means to see reality as Jesus does.  Paul uses the word “above” to contrast that which is “below,” which is to see reality from a human perspective “being conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).

So how does this world think?  And how does Jesus think?  That is what I hope to write about in this blog, and in several to follow.  Today I want to write about the scarcity narrative of this world, and the abundance narrative of Jesus, and how the decisive shift in thinking come from the Cross.

In the mind of the world, there is a limited amount of the things we need.  Think of a pie.  There are only so many pieces to a given pie, so if you take a piece I have less for me.  If you and others take several pieces of the pie, I may not get any.  Thus, I will need to scratch and claw and fight to make sure I get my share of the pie.  This is the mentality that is at the core of warfare.  It is also at the core of all sin.  The early church theologian Evagrius Ponticus (345-399 AD) taught that the scarcity narrative was at the root of all the 8 Deadly Sins (pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, lust and vainglory).  For example, because of scarcity, I will be envious of someone who has something that I do not, or more of something that I do.

In contrast, when we examine the gospel stories we see Jesus living from entirely different view of reality.  In them we see Jesus behaving as if he were from another world.  Which he actually is.  But it is a world accessible to us.  It is the reality of the Kingdom of God in our midst.  Jesus knew that the world is actually God-bathed.  He had a clear vision of a good and beautiful God who is right here with us, able to provide what we need when we need it.  In the economy of the Kingdom of the heavens, resources do not diminish upon their bestowal.  There is more than one pie.  In fact, pies are in endless supply in the Kingdom of God.

This is why Jesus told us not to worry.  He knew that for the person who loves and lives with his heavenly Father, the world is a perfectly safe place to be.  Heaven is here, now.  God is with us.  Of course, we cannot see it in the literal sense, but the most essential aspect of our lives are almost always invisible.  For Jesus, as Dr. Willard has written, we live in “a world filled with a glorious reality, . . . a world that is beautiful and good because of God and because God is always in it.”  Jesus knew this with absolute certainty, and he demonstrated it in his actions.

When the wedding celebration in Cana has ran out of wine it looked like the party was over.  Not to Jesus.  He turns water into wine and the revelry continues (John 2:1-10).  Oh, and it is the very best wine anyone had ever had.  One day when Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee he looks behind him to see 5,000 hungry stalkers.  Jesus tells his disciples to feed them.  They (thinking from below), say, “We don’t have the resources.”  Jesus said, “Tell them to sit down.  What do we have?”  “A few loaves and fishes,” the disciples replied.  So Jesus takes what they have, gives thanks, and feeds the entire lot.  Oh, and there’s leftovers (John 6:1-13).

The wonderful opportunity to which we are invited as apprentices of Jesus is to have the mind of Jesus.  We are invited to see reality as he does.  Jesus saw clearly that the power of the heavenly realm was easily accessible.  In order to make this shift we will need the Holy Spirit to assist us: “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:10).  In our current condition, dominated by the below thinking to which have grown accustomed, our minds have been enslaved to the narrative of scarcity.

In the realm of scarcity our isolated selves will have to extract our needs from others because we do not know how to receive them from God.  Jesus never thought in terms of scarcity, limitation, fear, or lack.  He thought in terms of provision, abundance, and excess.  So, if we are to put on the mind of Jesus we need to engage in some heavenly reverie.  Think on these things:

With Jesus, we can do anything that is right and good, no matter how seemingly impossible.

With Jesus, we will never run out of what we need.

With Jesus, we simply cannot lose.

With Jesus, we will never die.

I challenge you to take ten minutes and simply think about these four realities.  Get lost in these thoughts.  Ruminate, contemplate, and reflect on them.  This is how Jesus saw reality.  And so can we.  We just need to practice heavenly reverie.  Instead of being pleasantly lost, you will become pleasantly found.

 


 

Dr. JaView More: http://jillnicole.pass.us/apprentice-teammes Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School; DMin Fuller Seminary) is the Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith is currently a theology professor at Friends University, in Wichita, Kansas, and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of eight books, most notably The Apprentice Series (InterVarsity Press), which continue to shape the work of the Apprentice Institute. Dr. Smith’s other titles include Devotional Classics (with Richard J. Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Room of Marvels, and Hidden in Christ.

Posted in A Good and Beautiful Life, Apprenticeship, Blog, Kingdom of God, Uncategorized | Tags: / / / / /

More Less
Feb 06

His Faith

by Leave a comment

“I want to state clearly that it is not just the narratives of Jesus that have helped me, but Jesus himself has carried me along through my grief and doubt. Jesus not only explains suffering, he experienced suffering. He endured the worst kind of alienation

...

“I want to state clearly that it is not just the narratives of Jesus that have helped me, but Jesus himself has carried me along through my grief and doubt. Jesus not only explains suffering, he experienced suffering. He endured the worst kind of alienation possible as he hung on the cross, feeling that his Father had forsaken him. When we received the news about our daughter Madeline’s condition, I too felt forsaken by God. Jesus understands.

In his letter to the Galatians Paul wrote this moving narrative: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”(Galatians 2:19-20).

If you look closely at your Bible when you read this verse, you will probably notice a footnote after the phrase “faith in the Son of God.” The footnote in most modern translations reads, “or can be translated ‘the faith of the Son of God.’ ” This is because it seems to be a more accurate translation, and your Bible translators want to be honest. So why do most translations not read that way? I think it is because we tend to emphasize our faith in Jesus, and are not used to thinking about Jesus’ faith for us.

Jesus said his Father was good. Jesus also refused to affirm the idea that external rewards and punishments are given by God on the basis of our good or bad works. Rain falls on the good and the bad.

Sometimes we pray for rain (for our crops), and sometimes we pray that it will not rain (for our picnics). Both good and bad people get rained on, whether they want it or not. Jesus faced suffering, rejection and alienation, and the people jeered at him as he hung on the cross, questioning whether God was really with him. And Jesus believed. And he believes for me. He believes even when we cannot. He prays even when we cannot. We participate in his faith.

I affirm with Paul that I have been crucified with Christ. I do not understand that mystery, but I know that Jesus is closer to me than I am to myself. Christ lives in me, and I live by his faith. I am not alone. This is something more than simply getting my narratives right. It is allowing Jesus to live in and through and for me. The love of the Father, the redemption of Jesus and the communion I have with the Spirit are not based on anything I do. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit to believe in a God who is good even when things look bleak.”

Reflect – Why is carrying the words of scripture in our hearts and minds so helpful?

 

Taken from The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith. Copyright(c) 2009 by James Bryan Smith. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com

Posted in A Good and Beautiful Life, Blog, Uncategorized | Tags: / / / / /

More Less
123
Back to top

Sign Up

Nam ut dolor at erat dignissim pellentesque. Aliquam erat volutpat.