Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Silence and Fasting

In this lent season, I've been making sure I stay in tune with the Spirit and seek more of God and less of me.  That's what fasting has been showing me lately. If I want to successfully make it out of theses 40 days I have to think beyond myself and my desires.  Seeking community and reconciliation in the Church as a whole.  Not with just my Church but the body of Christ as a Whole.

This is harder said than done.  This seemingly minuet task takes a lot of pride out of me and humbles me greatly.  And I basically have to keep my mouth shut which is apparently REALLY hard for me to do.  And I'm just now discovering that I have a blazon tongue?  Why is it sooo hard for me to hold my tongue?

So often we take for granted that the power of Life and Death are in our tongue.  Think about that for a moment.  If I speak to anyone with my tongue I have the opportunity right there to decide if I want to speak Life into them or Death.  And as a Christian, I represent so much more when I speak to someone.  I represent not only myself as a believer but the Church as a whole.  That's A LOT of responsibility on these loose lips and not all the time do I have the full church in mind when I speak.

Well most of the time I have MY intentions in the forefront whether I'm aware of it or not.  And my favorite part about speaking with MY intentions is I LOVE to dress it up and call it NOT my intentions and God's intention.  And this hits hard for me.  I think of the passages in the bible about the tongue and now thanks to that Holy Spirit that unquenchingly shines lights in my dark areas writes me so eloquently into these passages:

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3.8

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. James 1:26

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19

Yikes, that's some serious words to swallow and it is VERY easy to write myself out of these verses and insert others but I'm not benefiting anyone or anything if I don't look at myself.  We HAVE to learn to bridle our tongues.  I HAVE to learn to bridle my own tongue.  Meditate on those verses for a little while.  Let them into your heart and speak to you.  They are not easy but they are life giving.

How? Because they level us all and help us ALL realize we fall short.  So many times we speak these humble thoughts but fail to believe them in our hearts.  I looked up the definition of corrupt because I wanted to be certain that I wasn't saying corrupt things because sometimes we can speak underhanded things and be blind to our lies we tell ourselves that we are doing good. 

Corruption means:guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked:
a corrupt judge.
debased in character; depraved; perverted;wicked; evil:
a corrupt society.
made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text.
infected; tainted.
decayed; putrid.

I hate to break it to you but we're all corrupt judges. Yep. Because we're still sinners in need of God's Grace in our own lives, having to renew it everyday. Leaning into God's Grace we learn to have patience with others like God has had patience with us. We're hurtled into this crazy life and handed a script and told to read those lines until we meet Jesus and he tells us to go counter to that script. No wonder we fight it so much to push our will on God and others. Only OUR will will keep us far far away from God because he's already setting out to do what he intends to do. Which is reconciling the world to His goodness.

Now we can get on that train because that train is leaving the station with or without us or we could wait around keep looking for Jesus in all the places WE think he's going to come. Which most of the time we think he's going to be glorified in our religious settings. Reminds me of King Samuel and how he wanted to build God a big Temple with gold and all this fancy stuff. God was pleased with him but it wasn't for all the fancy stuff it was because their hearts earnestly sought after Him. He tells them he will stay with them if they humble themselves and Obviously God isn't concerned with the "dressing up" as he is with the heart or else he would've had Jesus born into a more wealthy family and more spectacular throne.

Only he was born in a manger and his throne on Earth was the cross. He WAS counter script to everything we think he was and STILL IS, even to us believers sometimes because we still struggle with the ways of the world. They keep telling you to take matters into your own hands and not trust God but God is asking us to just do our 2 little commands about loving God and people and he'll do the rest. Gulp, are you sure Lord? You sure you don't need my guidance in this situation? Looks pretty satirical here but we know we just have a hard time trusting Him so much. He only wants to use us through love. And being used of Love is seeking Justice and Mercy for those around us. That's when we are most like Christ. Not when we're opening our mouths but shutting them and being his hands and feet. I think Francis of Assisi sums it up in one sentence: "Preach the gospel at all times

and when necessary use words."

So when your fasting for Lent this year, remember your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.  Remember the unity among your fastings and the places the Lord wants to take you as a whole.  We can only see those places when we lean less on ourselves and more on Him to meet our needs.

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