Two days ago, the Lester family marked the one year anniversary of our arrival in the US. I cannot believe it has been a year! We arrived tired, smelly, confused and a little fearful and have more or less remained in that state for the rest of the year. It has been a most marvelous adventure!
While I am working on a particular set of desired outcomes for me which are usually comfort related, God has another desired outcome for me, and it is usually discomfort related.
Dear friends, what if we became the kind of community that our neighbors desperately long for? The kind of place where they wouldn’t need to be Wonder Woman and wouldn’t need confidence juice to enter into, but where it would be okay to be just them, even if just them isn’t okay at all. We can be that sort of a people collectively if we start to just do it individually.
Friends, the grace of God means that we can and should take our sin very seriously and should do all we can to put it to death and to remove its patterns from us. When Paul wrote to the Colossian church, he reminded them that they had been raised with Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God. The implication of that incredible news of grace is that they had to be ruthless with sin. It was the only logical response that they would put it to death, to not have any part with it. That they would do whatever they could to expose it, to remove it, and to move far from it so that it couldn’t return. Jesus, of course, taught us to do the same thing. To cut off offending parts rather than to live with them continually compromising us.
Fall semester has arrived and she is a nasty little season y’all. Everyone is running pretty hard. Yesterday a friend told me I looked tired, and then added… “I mean even worse than usual.” They are the worst friend ever, but they aren’t wrong.
Repentance is a chance to admit you are wrong in a world of pressure trying to look like you are getting it right, and trust me, you are getting it wrong somewhere. It is a chance to declare dependence in a world where we are all exhausted from our so called independence. It is a a chance to throw yourself on the goodness of God, and to experience the fullness of joy when you discover just how good He is.
I am more and more persuaded that truly engaged and fully present listening is a gift that Christians could give uniquely to the world, as we of all people aren’t constantly clambering to be heard. Listening is a sacred thing. I think it might be a spiritual discipline actually. Let’s be quick to listen to one another.