I remember Dr Rory McKenzie saying in a Practical Theology class, back in 1998 at bible college, that 'the unreflective life is not worth living' and I have remembered that like a bolt of lightening these last ten or so years since I heard the words coming from his mouth. This, in many ways, is more of a personal reflection.
My heart is overflowing with thanksgiving to God who has not given up on me. He has continued to carve and shape my life from the desperate 15 year old who yeilded to him to where he bas brought me today. Of course, I'm by no means 'finished,' but I do praise him for the journey thus far. My goodness, there was a load of stuff God has had to do in my life. He did a pretty good job when he saved me, I mean there were a whole load of chains that just fell off there and then. Some others he's chipped away at, but in all of it I've been able to enjoy his presence and experience his purity, to live a life of holiness. When I've stepped away from that experience, for whatever strange reason, its so clear where I really belong.
One of the biggest things that I enjoy about living by the Spirit is that I don't have to hold onto stuff. You know, it takes a lot of energy to hold grudges, to remain angry and resentful. One of the strong characteristics of my family growing up, and even today, is the inability to 'let go' of things, situations, wrongs, and to offer forgiveness and grace (regardless of who was in the wrong). Inordinate amounts of effort going into keeping old scores and keeping strife alive. I've no time for it because of grace, pure and simple. I figure God didn't hold anything against me, he loved and he forgave and he blesses. So, I embrace them all: parents, ex-step-parents, partners of parents, children of partners of parents, brothers, sisters, half-this and half-that, estranged aunts, uncles, cousins....you name it, they'll always find a welcome at my door. I love them all dearly and would love them to know even a hint of grace that frees a person to drop their guard and embrace others in the same spirit. It would transform and release so many of them to live happy and dramatically more whole lives.
Why on earth do I say all that? Simply to give testimony to an active God, a transforming God who is as real today as he was 15 years ago when I met with him. The same God who began the work is continuing it. And there, in that truth, is the miracle of the relationship that God wants to have with his people. The heart of the gospel is the renovation of the human heart, fashioning it into the likeness of Jesus and implanting us into the community of God, his people, to live as a distinct grace-filled, peaceful and counter-cultural race on this planet who belong to the conspiracy which is the Kingdom of God. We long for the day when he comes again in all his glory and he will take us to be with him, but for now, we marvel at his saving grace and live the reality of eternity here in the midst of the trouble and strife that men and women and children might somehow know him in truth. Oh come quickly Lord, but in the mean time, enable us to walk in your footsteps, point to your cross, and walk in your Kingdom reality here and now.