Well, its Thursday not Tuesday but this week in our Yes to God Bible Study Lisa Whittle's Book 'Behind Those Eyes" hosted by Lelia Chealey we are looking at Ms. Spirituality. Text taken directly from the book will appear in blue. I put off reading this chapter until Monday night because I wasn't real sure I wanted to met her or hear what God wanted to reveal to me. On page 78 Lisa gave us a check list for Ms. Spirituality and as I read this list and also the 2nd list for when Ms. Spirituality really wanted to impress people I saw things on there that I am doing as I am sure we all did but as Lisa goes on to say "The point is not that she does these things, rather, why she does these things."
One item that really hit was 'knows proper "Christianese" and uses it frequently. This is something our ladies leadership team has been talking about lately how we use Christianese terms because we have been in church awhile and are familiar with them but many new Christian have no idea what they mean, so the thought that came to my mind are we using the terms because we are so familiar with them or is it to impress people. If asked to explain or define some of my "Christianese'' terms could I? Some I probably could but to quite honest I would also probably stumble over a few.
Have there been times in my life when I have said or done things so people would think I was walking closer to God then I really was, absolutely. I was raised in the church even though my parents did not always go, as a young girl in a small town in Virginia I remember walking home on Sunday night with my mother, brother and sister singing songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and This little light of mine". As a teenager my mother had to work a lot of Sundays or it was her only day off but she made sure that we went to church. I was in GA and sang in the choir, at 14 I walked the aisle and accepted Jesus as my savior but as I got older and graduated from HS I started wandering away from what I was taught. When my son was about 5 I though about the memories I had and I wanted him to have some of the same ones so we started going back to church. (Now I remind you I didn't really need to go because I new all the stories about Noah, Jonah, Jesus feeding the 5000 and him coming to earth as a baby and died for my sin. HA HA, was I ever wrong and thankfully Jesus showed me that not only did he want to be my savior but he wanted me have a relationship with him as well). I remember going out with my friends on Saturday to the bars for so we could dance and have a good time and then say "I got to go; I have to go to Church in the morning" somehow as I look back on that I do not really think that was giving God the glory but it was sure acting spiritual.
There is nothing wrong with being Spiritual we should all strive to be more like Jesus but as Lisa says "the problem comes when our performance of these characteristics takes precedence over the actual condition of our hearts" and nothing says it better then the quote she used from Ravi Zacharias book "RECAPTURE the WONDER": It is not about ritual; it is about a relationship. It is not about the posture of the body; it is about the need of the soul. It is not about the times of the day; it is about the timelessness of his presence. It is not about appeasing God; it is about resting in His provision. It is not about culture; it is about truth. It is not about earning peace; it is the wonder-working power of God.
Lisa also reminded us that the bible tells us in James 1:22 that some spiritual muscle is requred in our relationship with God. I looked this verse in several different verison but like the one in the messeage best 'Don't fool yourself into thinking you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear.' I know if I said that once to my son when he was growing up I must have said it 1000 times and I remember how fustrated I would get with him; as I sit here typing I am wondering how many times God has felt this way with me, when I have not listen or done things his way but "my way".
God revealed so much to me in the study of this chapter so if you're still reading this please bear with me a little longer. As I reread about the woman who had so much faith that she knew if she could just touch Jesus's garment she would be healed I saw her in a different light. ( I had always seen her as a woman of faith) As I read the verses 42-48 in the Message version of the bible like Lisa suggested I saw her differently. In verse 48 it reads "Jesus said; "Daugther, you took a risk trusting me, and now you're healed and whole. Live well, live blessed.'" I read that Tuesday morning before leaving for work and thought what risk, she was faithful and knew if she could just get to Jesus she would be healed. As I pondered on this all day, I saw her differently, I saw her as a woman who had tried all the world had to offer and found it lacking and unable to heal her; she knew Jesus was her last chance. The risk of being riduculed by the Religious(spiritual) leaders was far less to her then the risk on never reaching out and knowing his touch. She was ready for that real relationship with Jesus all she had to do was reach out and he was there waiting for her offering her the healing that she needed.
The other thing that keep coming to mind after I finished this chapter was the prable about the Pharisee and tax man in Luke 18:9-14 who were both in the temple praying. The Pharisee prayed bosting about himself and that he was not like others expecially the tax man after all he fasted twice a week and gave his tithe while the tax man humbled himself and asked for God's mercy. Jesus ends the parable is versse 14 with "for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted" NIV.
Jesus, please keep me humble (like the tax man) and resting in your presence and provision not boastful (like the Pharisee.). Help me to be real in my relationship with you and others, may they not see me as "Spiritual" but as someone different and the difference being you. Thank you for leading me to this study which is truly opening my eyes and drawing me closer to you. Amen.
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