Joanna Weaver's study has taken me to some places in my walk that are not my usual stops. We are already into week three and this terrific guide has helped me to dig into places that usually are left untouched. This week's lesson was "Spirit Check". Joanna refers to Mark Buchanan, a pastor and author who describes,"the halfway life too many Christians settle for as 'conversion without regeneration, an initial encounter with Jesus that doesn't lead to a life abiding with Jesus. He calls it borderland." I don't want to be sitting on the fence and there are references to being lukewarm in the bible.
There is a mention of people being comfortable with boredom. I pray I am not in that group. I have been a passionate person for most of my life, but I have to recognize that I can tend to get into a mode of being content in staying at a certain place. I need to focus on the fact that Jesus was bold enough to step up and be strong when it meant 'taking a stand'.
There's a section in the book called, "More than Y'all". This referred to a love that Christ has for us that feels like more than any other. I loved the reference to a grandmother that had loved her grandchildren so much that each one felt that they had been the favorite. They were shocked when she passed away and they found out that she given this intense love to one just as much as the other.
In our questions for reflection one stood out to me.
"As you were growing up, what irritated you most about your brother
and/or sister? What irritated them? (If you were an only child, perhaps
you tangled with an annoying cousin or friend)."
I was an only child and I don't have a reference for living with a sibling and the interaction it must conjure up. I did have cousins. One of my cousins was quick to let the rest of us know that he had special toys. He would pull these toys out and would tell us, "you can't touch my toys. These are my toys." We would just watch him play with the toys or games and I can remember looking at my other cousins as we sat around in awe watching him play by himself and not including us in the fun. This was so frustrating to me. I spent most of my time wishing I had someone to play with and here I was getting a chance to play with my cousins and we were left sitting on the sidelines watching someone else participate alone among a group.
This was a source of irritation for me for years. Growing up I thought that he had elevated himself and was sending a message to the rest of us that we weren't good enough. I had to get to a point in my Christian walk that I realized that my cousin was the one that was losing out. It wasn't us on the sidelines. There comes a point when we can view events as lessons and I started realizing that Christ would not want us to exclude. I began to feel sorry for my cousin that was so selfish.
There was also a question about Philippians 2:1-11. These verses speak to us about the way the Lord humbled himself and became a servant. "Christ was obedient to death--even death on a cross." There's some deep part of my spirit that doesn't like to be controlled by others. I don't like the feeling that someone else can make my decisions and be in charge of my destiny. I believe that if I take an honest look at myself I will realize that Christ wants me to naturally let Him control all my ways. I need to be more like Him and realize that His walk here on earth was guided by His father and I need to humble myself more and turn everything totally over to Him. I shouldn't hold back certain things that I want to manipulate. I love Him and I need to abandon my selfish thoughts of thinking I know what I need to do. If I can come to the place where He directs ALL my thoughts and paths I will be so much better off.
To me, so far, this has been the deepest lesson in the book. Examining ourselves is not easy. It takes stepping back and acknowledging negatives about ourselves that I believe we like to shove over into the shadows. I need to put the light on my selfish tendencies and let His light totally surround me.
This is an introspective study and I'm not even half way through it, but I see myself trying to develop more characteristics of Christ through the author's direction and strong reference to the scriptures.