Saturday, 28 May 2022

Spirit and Truth

If we only get what we want when we want it, we do not learn dependence on the Lord, or patience, or the ability to wait on the Lord to get his perspective on what He wants for our lives
There are many things that we depend on in life that help us to know where we are and what is going on. We depend on the sun to rise every morning, because it heralds in a new day, we depend on water flowing from the tap to fill our kettles for our morning cuppa. We depend on electricity flowing through the wires to boil that kettle etc, etc. Our days run fairly smoothly because things look and feel “normal”.  But we also know how disorganised and disoriented we feel when one thing doesn’t go to plan. For example, my mom is in a care home and is now sadly confined to bed. Recently she has been tumbling out of bed on occasion because she rolls over too much and loses perspective of where the edge of the bed is. The wonderful home has now fitted two wedge type buffers to the side of the mattress that stop this happening. The other day I found her lying flat in the bed having pulled the pillows from under her head. She was frustrated and kept saying “I’ve been trying to get me and your dad out of this bed! Please help me!!”, my dad died 8 years ago. So, I calmed her down and gently raised the bed up to a sitting position and restored the pillow to its rightful place. Explaining about my dad passing away and letting her see where she was because the safety buffers had blocked out her view of anything but the ceiling. As soon as I raised her up, she could see her room and immediately she knew where she was and felt back to normal. Her true perspective was restored and she became peaceful again. It showed me how easily it is to be disoriented and upset when we can’t see clearly where we are. 

The older I get the more I realise that nothing stays the same, life if ever changing, sometimes this is welcomed and good and sometimes the changes are unwelcomed and not as good for us as we would like. These are the times when the tap stops running and the electricity fails and we feel we can’t cope without that cup of tea, so the whole day becomes out of step and we can’t seem to find the rhythm again. The Lord understands this completely and his word is littered with people, and events that we can turn to for help, and He has been challenging me about this over the last few weeks. 

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT) the secret of dealing with change and challenge “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Sometimes its hard to just stop and accept that in every situation the strength of the Lord is so readily available to us, it is always there (just like water from the tap) we just have to let it flow. Paul learned that he could rely on the Lord to provide strength for everything he was facing. He learned that sometimes his prayers were answered and things changed, or sometimes they didn’t, but that the Lord works through everything to perfect us and help us to become the people and priesthood he wants us to be. 2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (NLT) "So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’” I bet this is not what Paul wanted to hear at first, after all he prayed 3 times for the situation to change, and we all know God could have taken the thorn away in a heartbeat, but there was a greater truth and work of perfection that the Lord wanted to work out in Paul’s life. To learn that in all things God's strength to endure was more valuable than instant relief. A hard lesson but a valuable one, one that gives us the tools to cope with anything. If we only get what we want when we want it, we do not learn dependence on the Lord, or patience, or the ability to wait on the Lord to get his perspective on what He wants for our lives. In other words, we skip out on a vital part of our spiritual development, ‘endurance’. As Paul says “so now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That is why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and the insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT).
The other thing the Lord has been showing me is that worshipping him is not governed by circumstance, health, geography or feelings. If there is one lesson that has come out of the pandemic for me it is to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.  I know I have spoken about this before, but the Lord has had to bring me back again recently to the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman as they talked together at the well. We all know the account; she was arguing with Jesus about the correct place to worship. Jews say Jerusalem and Samaritans say Mount Gerizim. It had been the bone of contention between them for ages. But Jesus words to her are the same as his words to me all through the pandemic and beyond. John 4:23-24 (NLT) “The time is coming – indeed it’s here now – when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Just like my dear mom lost beneath the side buffers unable to see where she is and with a total loss of perspective, I often find myself `lost` in events, circumstances, geography and feeling which, I allow to affect my worship. The Lord has had to remind me so much of this again recently.  Jesus said clearly that those that worship God, must worship only in spirit and truth. What then do we need to worship God? It`s not the right music, the right environment, a good voice, or even feeling in a worshipful frame of mind. No, its focussing on who He is and connecting our spirit with His spirit and allowing the life of God to flow between us. Worship is so natural when we do this, and not necessarily anything to do with singing. It’s a deep adoration and thankfulness for who He is. Our spirit worshiping/connecting with His spirit. And as Jesus himself said this often stems from a revelation from Gods word. His word is truth. So, all we need to live in true worship is to connect to God's spirit by accessing the truth contained in His word. This very thing lifts our spiritual head up to see the place where we are fully, rather than just a view of the ceiling (like my poor mom) we gain perspective. So just like Paul we can say; “I have learned the secret of living in every situation”. Nothing can affect our worship and connection to the Lord when we worship only in spirit and in truth. There is a wonderful line in Psalm 42:7 "Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls”. I`m never too sure what was in the psalmist mind as he wrote this, but to me it says that the deepness of God spirit calls to the deepness of my spirit and the roar of the splendour of that drowns out all the barriers of life, circumstance, illness, mental impairment, and anything else you would like to put in this list. Pure connection with the immortal, invisible God. Spirit and truth! And from this position of worship, we always have a true (God's) perspective on life.  

Thank you Lord!!

Author: Jan Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

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