I’m going to de-rail from the topic of grass-fed beef today and share some things that have been taking up significant mental space in my brain lately.  I just watched a Francis Chan sermon on YouTube (highly recommend) and he put words to my thoughts.  He made the point that we waste our lives building our reputation – convincing everyone else that we’re something great – when in the end, there is only One who we will stand before and only One name we will be able to claim.  Our reputation will not matter then.

I’m also reading through Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.  I’m only one chapter in but challenged already by his exhortation that pursuing God’s glory and pursuing my joy are one in the same.

“If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy” (p. 10).

That little gem is worth some time to chew on.

Thirdly, our pastor led us in an incredible time of vulnerability a few Sundays ago.  I admire his courage and reliance on Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  As he shared from his life and his struggles with us, he challenged us to move from “a place of masks” to “a place of grace”.

The place of masks is a place of fear, intimidation, comparison and people-pleasing.  A place where the center to my thoughts is me: my reputation, my comfort, my status, my agenda.  A place where I am reliant on my own performance to define my value.

The place of grace is a place of freedom, joy, trust and hope.  A place where the center of my thoughts is Jesus: his life, his death, his power, his gift of salvation.  A place where I am reliant on His performance which is my value.

All of this has been spinning around in my head like bubbles in a washing machine, except [unlike my laundry] – I’m not sure that it will come out clean.  What I mean is that this season in my life is like the tension in a song that continues to build until the chorus.  The chorus is where the meat is at.  I’m not quite to the meat of all God is showing me – just feeling the tension.  So, here I write….about the tension….about the messy….about [as a friend of mine says] “my ugly”.  If it encourages you in your own ugly, great.   All I know right now is that  The Word says that if you hear God’s voice today, do not harden your hearts.  (Hebrews 3:7-8).  Each time we hear and do not act, it becomes easier and easier to quench the Spirit.  Easier to remain behind the mask.  Where life is still about us and our performance.   Where we wouldn’t even think to bow a knee in submittance.  My flesh will always be at war with my Spirit but my Spirit desperately wants to make my life about Jesus.  To submit to Him and trust Him and love Him with my whole heart…because He first loved me.  Time to wage war on the flesh and re-focus my white-washed energies from the outside of the cup to the inside (ref: Matthew 23:27-28).  Good thing Jesus is fighting for me.  #GREATHIGHPRIEST.  Here we go!

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