As I started reading the intro to Devotions for the Man in the Mirror (wow, that's a long name. I'm going to call it "Devotions."), I looked around on my desk. There is a rock from the Reflections study that we did last year. That one began with images of water running down a stream and the observation that you can never step in the same stream twice. You may go to the same place on the banks of the stream, but the grass has grown. The trees have changed. The water that was there has flowed downstream and you are looking at "new water." Even the rocks in the stream bed have changed, no matter how imperceptibly. In the midst of the the change, though, some things are constant. The flow of water brought life and growth, and it still does. In the same way, the Holy Spirit, flowing like a river, brings life and growth to us. It was a good study, and I have good memories from it.
There is another rock on my desk. It is from a confirmation class. My memories about confirmation are different, but in some ways they are the same. Like the place on the banks of the stream, I can look at the same young people who were in confirmation, but they are not the same at all. They have grown and changed. Some changes are obvious. Others are hardly perceptible, but the changes are undeniable. At the same time, their God-given souls, the essence of who and what they are, remains the same. Like the analogy to the stream, the Holy Spirit, flowing like a river, brings life and growth to them.
Now one of those rocks is holding my place open in Devotions. I am already excited about what I see. "Come near to God and he will come near to you." Coming near to a stream brings a sense of peace. Coming near to youth who have confirmed their faith brings a smile to my face. Coming near to God. It is in both of those experiences, and in many more. The Holy Spirit, running like a river, is running here, too.
I enjoyed the intro. A few questions came to mind for me. Here are some of them. Maybe they will help your devotional time:
How does a "Christian life view" influence me in
The author asked Jim whether Sandy had a "Christian life view." Isn't that the question that Jim needed to ask himself? Isn't that the question that I need to ask myself?
If I live a "partially surrendered life" that is "Christian in spirit, but it is secular in practice," can it save my soul? Think about the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31-46). Think about faith that is only lukewarm. (Revelation 3:16)
If I have the God that I want, I have effectively proclaimed myself to be a "God-maker." A dose of humility would be good at this juncture!
If I seek the God who is, then I can begin a journey.
Morley mentions the concept of the "comfortable orbit." Discussions about orbits always attract my attention. They aren't ovals with flat sides like NASCAR tracks. They are more like ellipses. Their shape and path are influenced by geometry and physics. A satellite in orbit moves at changing speeds and changing directions. The distance between the satellite and its primary is always fluctuating. The degree of the arc is constantly changing. Yet with all of these changes, the orbit represents a balance. I could digress for a long time, but you can learn more about orbits by visiting http://www.braeunig.us/space/orbmech.htm. As I read the Devotion, I wondered what I am orbiting. Have I made myself the primary, so that everything orbits around me? If not, what is my "primary?" Is it my job? Is it my wealth (or lack thereof)? Is it God?
I also enjoyed Morley's observation that when we retreat too far from the Light, it leaves us chilly. That is exactly what happens in orbits, too. As the earth orbits away from the sun, it gets cooler.
Are we satisfied living in an orbit? Do we ever want our Christian walk to grow cold? Morley invites us to break out of the comfortable orbit, "to be on fire for Christ, to trust Him completely, to obey, to live out of the overflow of an abundant life, filled with purpose and meaning."
I'll take the invitation. I hope you will, too.
Gracious Lord, thank you for being our warmth and our light. We seek to know you more, not to be merely warm, but to be on fire for you; not to simply glow, but to blaze with your light. Warm others with your love through us. Shine your light on the world through us. When we see the Man in the Mirror, may we see a reflection of you. When the world looks at us, may it always see you. Amen.
Grace and peace--