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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Soul food

Do you know what a "love - hate" relationship is?  It is when God's people love him so much they just cannot help but hating everything that is evil! When we draw so close to light, we cannot stand to live in darkness any longer.  Whatever side of the coin you find yourself on right now - in love deeply with Jesus, or kind of on the side of just not wanting to have much to do with him - the same fact remains: God's love is reaching out for you! When we respond to his reaching love, we are brought into places of communion with him never before imagined possible.  Communion is really "common union" - it is the sharing in "common" of what each brings into the relationship. If you haven't figured this out yet - we don't bring much into this relationship with Jesus, but he has more than enough to make up for what we lack!

God loves all who hate evil, and those who love him he keeps safe, snatches them from the grip of the wicked.  Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.  So, God’s people, shout praise to God, give thanks to our Holy God!  (Psalm 97:10-12 MSG)

There are some advantages to being in communion with Jesus:

- He keeps us safe.  We are "snatched from the grip of the wicked".  What on earth could this mean?  Apart from this "common-union" with Christ, we are subject to the forces of wickedness, simply because we lack the ability to dispel darkness in our own efforts.  It is like having a birthday candle in the huge, totally darkened aircraft hanger.  We could light the candle, but would the light of that one small candle really dispel all the darkness in that huge space?  No!  It might give an "impression" of light, but true light only comes when Christ flings the door of the hanger open wide and lets in his light from outside!  The darkness in our lives is dispelled because of the "vastness" and "limitlessness" of his light!  In dispelling darkness, he is leaving no room for wickedness to take up hiding within!

- We begin to develop some new "soul" crops.  Soul equals mind, will, and emotions, so when we think about the "soul" crops we develop in darkness, we might just be able to recognize the differences when light begins to be brought into our souls.  I did this science experiment with the kids once in my walk-in closet.  The idea was to show the need for plant life to have light in order to grow.  We planted beans (easiest to grow) in some small cups of soil and watered.  Then we did the best we could to limit the light they received by keeping them at the back of my closet.  Yes, I had to go in there from time to time to get out a fresh set of clothes each day, so there was a tiny exposure to light now and again.  In about 5 days, we had sprouts above the surface of the soil.  Then a few days later, some signs of "leaves" were visible. The entire sprout took on life after that in pretty quick order, but with some obvious differences from those we were growing in the kitchen next to the window.  The ones sprouting in the dark place were pale, and stunted in their growth.  They were almost white - and their leaves never did develop that green color.  But...when we brought them out into the light, guess what happened?  You guessed it - they began to "green up".  This is the effect of light - it brings transformation.  Mind, will, and emotions begin to be transformed by the effects of "light" - changing harmful thought patterns, transforming stubborn habits, and bringing peace into otherwise uneasy emotions.  Light changes things - newness comes because light just has that power!

- There is a transformation in our general "attitude", as well.  Remember me saying on occasion that "attitude determines altitude"?  It is an aeronautical term indicating the direction of the plane's nose determining the direction the plane will travel.  If even with the horizon, then it will fly parallel to the ground.  If pointed up, it climbs higher into the sky; down and it heads toward earth.  Most pilots will tell you the hardest time to fly is in the midst of darkness - because they have to rely totally upon instruments to let them know which way their nose is facing and what is in their path of flight!  An unseasoned pilot, or even a seasoned one coming into an area where they haven't flown before, will be a little concerned about flying in total darkness. If an instrument is malfunctioning even in the slightest, it could spell disaster for the pilot.  When we come into communion with Christ, we learn to rely upon him to help keep our "attitude" correctly positioned - we allow him to affect our "attitude" because it will ensure an evenness in our "altitude".  It is not that we don't get into places of darkness once in a while, but when we do, he is right there it guide us into the place of safety once again.

We may not be able to affect the darkness by ourselves, but we aren't expected to!  We are to become vessels of his light, allowing his light to dispel the darkness within us first, and then to begin to bring light into the world about us.  When we begin to allow new "soul" crops to develop, we will see the effect of light upon our "affect".  His light changes us from the inside out - we "absorb" his light and his light radiates from us through the changed life which results.  Just sayin!