For the next several Monday’s I’ll be reflecting on thoughts stirred by reading Mary DeMuth’s upcoming book, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. The following is a reflection the ideas in chapters 9 & 10
Ch. 9: Embrace Holy Inebriation
I’ve seen people who’ve had one too many drinks. It was a little funny, a little scary, and a lot sad. The loss of control that comes with downing enough alcohol to hit this point, is something I have personally never experienced. While several factors have contributed to that decision on my part, one of the reasons for it has been, that I don’t want to be out of control.
While this has served me well socially, (despite the rejection of some in my youth who thought me weird and too church-y) This intentional control has at times hampered my growth in my faith. Fear of appearing foolish or ‘crazy’ has kept my feet too firmly planted, when God has called me to leap with abandon.
The Christian life is supposed to be marked with self control (1 Timothy 2-3), and restraint. After all, Christians are called to live in the world but not of it (Romans 12:2), to remain set apart from the common practices of the culture in which we are to bare witness (1 Peter 2:11).
In practicing this form of control however, it’s not uncommon to find yielding the the Holy Spirit to be a challenge. The freedom we find as Christians, gained by the death of Christ, is best enjoyed when we let God in and give Him room to move. Experiencing God in this way, often means that we have relinquished control and allow God to direct our paths–even if this means doing the unpredictable thing, or taking that wild–seemingly risky, leap of faith.
The paradox of control in the Christian life, is so much like all of the other challenges we are called to: becoming less so that He can be more, dying to live, giving up control to enjoy freedom in a life that is within His control.
God doesn’t call us to abandon our morals and values so that we may indulge in out-of-control sinful behaviors, but He does woo us into a deeper relationship of trust where we willingly learn the grace of letting Him be the lead.
Ch.10: Choosing To Heal
I’ve long loved that story of the sick man lying by the pool at Bethesda, found in John 5:1-15. When approached by Jesus and questioned about the fact that he stays out of the pool which is known for it’s healing properties, the man offers up a handful of excuses. Someone always beats me to it, or cuts me off, preventing me from getting in. But Jesus in his firm love, pointedly asks the man, “Do you want to get well?”
For thirty-eight years this man has apparently sat by this pool and had a handful of reasons as to why he has yet to make it in. When he relays his reasoning to Christ, Jesus tells him simply, “get up, take up your mat and walk”. And just like that, the man does and his healing is complete.
I’ll admit I’ve lived in seasons wrought with excuses as to why I can’t get over something. I’ve ached longer than necessary because of my excuses and lack of faith that God can do anything, if I would only ask Him.
The truth is, often our healing isn’t instantaneous. It’s a slow, two steps forward, one step back kind of journey. Frequently, in order to heal, we must revisit some pretty dark corners and bring the wounds out into the light.
It’s easier to make excuses than take the leap. We can grow pretty comfortable in our discomfort there, waiting by the pool.
But Christ offers wholeness to the broken. He died to restore us. When we settle for less, we cheat ourselves and those in relationship with us, from experiencing the blessings of restoration–because, you know, your pain is not yours alone, it affects those whose lives intermingle with yours (whether you see it or not).
Christ asks the same question to all of us–“do you want to get well”? How do you choose to answer this? <—Tweet this, would ya?
Have you learned to “Let go, and let God”? What’s that been like for you?
Mary’s book continues to challenge me. I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy for yourself. It’s definitely worth the investment.
Everything releases in October, however, you can pre-order now. Woot!
PS: Did you miss my guest post up over at 5 Minutes For Faith? You can catch it HERE.
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