About 5 years ago, I began a journey of freeing myself from the past and allowing myself space and time for God to work his way a bit differently in me. I am often times not where I long to be and recognize my faults. But the more I allow myself this grace over discipline, the more my yearnings for the Living God become satisfied.
My mind keeps ruminating on the externals of discipline versus internal transformation. I genuinely believe God is ready to do a work in us when we offer all we are back to him; when we realize that it is his Spirit doing work in us and through us.
The past year with eye pain has conveyed to me that I need to lessen my amount of reading time. I have to care for my eyes scrupulously by putting drops in and compresses on them every hour. Without this experience, I don’t think I would have allowed myself the depth of unstructured days that I do now. All this means I have to be so particular with what I read, but it has also pushed me a bit further down this path of trust, that I am ok to worship directly with my Father. So I have once again been reminded to focus on the truth that the Holy Spirit has come to teach his people today. I am learning in a way I never dreamed I’d have to. I take time out to read scriptures, books, pray and keep silent time, I vary this daily according to my leadings and eye pain. Some days I must simply rest in the Spirit. I am striving to do away with any lingering old tapes of lists of "do's and don'ts". It is an amazing thing to think about that Christ has already done a work in us and will continue to. I can relax a lot more. As Richard Foster says in several of his books, these external disciplines are simply a means of allowing the Spirit to meet us more intimately and directly. I am feeling more and more the freedom of this grace in a new way.
This grace is not about measuring up, but rather the LIFE that the Spirit offers. The Spirit ALWAYS gives life, and life abundant. I was reading one of my newsletters last evening, and it's interesting how my thoughts, discussion studies and readings keep tying together. Within it were a few verses from John which I found renewing. I normally read KJV, but have picked up The Message out of shear curiosity and shock value this past year and it just so happened to be in that. It reads:
"But the time is coming--it has, in fact, come--when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself--Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. " John 4:23-26.
The freedom and the grace is the gift-- the Spirit connected to our spirit; our hearts joined directly in one. This love keeps me thirsting and coming back for more.