Whether spacious or narrow

For some of us, walking with Jesus is a spacious place right now.  It’s a great big park where you can’t even see the fences.  There’s options, sunshine, joy and freedom.  You can woosh down the slides, swing on the monkey bars, enjoy your ice cream.  Hey, take your top off and swing it round your head if you fancy, why not?  You’re running around a spacious place.

For others of us, we’re currently super aware of how narrow the path of discipleship is.  It’s struggling over stepping stones in the middle of a storm.  The next rock is barely visible and we’re not sure we’re going to reach it.  It’s chiselling away hard at us, cutting into the very core of who we are.  It’s carrying an instrument of Roman execution on our weary shoulders and fighting to get through to the end of the day.

Both of these extremes, along with every shade in between, are totally valid in the life of the disciple.  Both will be being used by the Master Craftsman to form your heart and make you more like Jesus.  The One acquainted with grief, anointed with joy and absolutely unflinching in his commitment to lay his life down for a lost world in service and love.

So, whether you’re enjoying or enduring today, lean in to Him.

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Heart Test

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold and the Lord tests hearts.” Proverbs 17:3

One truth about your today is this: the Lord will be actively, fiercely even, testing your heart.

Yes, partly in that scary exam and assessment way.  Evaluating and exposing.

But also in the sense of refining, purifying and burning off dross.

Every circumstance of yours today will be used by a Master Craftsman to further his work of forming, strengthening and shaping your one heart.

Co-operate with him today.  Embrace this process.

We’re WEIRD

Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic.

It’s estimated that only 12 % of the world is currently like this.  If you widen that out to “humans through history” – that small percentage falls dramatically again.  No one at all was WEIRD before 19th Century.

That’s not to say that any or all of these are negative traits.  We need to recognize though that none of them are really neutral in how we receive, process and live out the message of the gospel.  The message of the middle eastern-uneducated-woodworking peasant, who was obliterated by the Empire before rising again.

 

 

 

Antidotes

Practice what you preach.
Help people, ahead of getting heavy with them.
Do good stuff in secret.
Walk away from being famous in the church.
Avoid title and position,
seek service and humility.
Enter in to the Kingdom of God,
and ensure you yourself are thoroughly converted.
Stop looking for loopholes –
be mindful of the greatness of God.
Keep the main things, the main things –
justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Focus on getting your inside clean
through pursuing generosity and self-restraint.
Really pay attention to your inner life –
ensure it is life in there, and not death.
Honour the heroes that have gone before
not by putting up their statues,
but by living out their principles.
Get humble enough to be teachable –
open the door of your life wide
to prophets, sages and teachers.
Shout aloud: “Blessed is he,
who comes in the name of the Lord.”

A spin on Matthew 23