Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Creating freshness

If we find ourselves too busy for our neighbor's burden then we are too busy!  If we find ourselves too interested in our own issues so as to miss the pressing needs of another, we are too disinterested in those God places in our lives!  Paul takes us to the place of "testing" the reality of "living what we preach" today in our passage:

1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
(Galations 6:1-3 The Message)

The idea of "sharing burdens" seems like a term we have utilized in Christian circles for as long as I can remember.  It is usually associated with pastoral admonishments to engage in service, being available to what God urges us to do, and to come alongside one who is hurting.  

Paul starts with the idea of living "creatively" - the exact opposite of just "existing" in life.  He has told us to live free and animated, allowing God's Spirit to indwell us.  Now he points us to the outcome of living in freedom and allowing the Spirit of God to be the animating factor in our lives - creativity!  Don't wig out on me - this is more than being able to decorate a room with flare, or make beautiful greeting cards from paper and ribbon. 

He is likely speaking of the ability to transcend our traditional ideas of how life should "happen".  The ideas, rules, patterns, and relationships we have maintained may need to "shift" in order to allow the freshness of God's Spirit to be at work within.  In fact, God's Spirit is at work helping us form new ideas - seeing today's challenges with new eyes.  We learn to interpret life with a sense of God's imagination - rather than through the filters of our oppressed perception.

1.  Embrace the work of the Spirit in your life - really allowing him to begin to influence your thoughts - thus impacting your actions!

2.  Encounter life with new vitality - tapping deeply into the energies of the Spirit of God who indwells you in order to face the challenges today brings.

3.  Engage in today's challenges - even forgiving one who needs to be forgiven, or reaching out to help one buried under their own burdens - the life you change may very well be your own.  Engaging IN life is more rewarding than merely being an observer!

4.  Encourage another by your "love" actions - forgiving before forgiveness is ever asked for, not allowing issues to build until they boil over, and helping one out of the pit of despair are only the result of having embraced the call of being "on mission" with Jesus!