This is more of an personal accountability thing, rather than for sharing anything deep and profound! I’m going to commit to updating this blog at last once a month with things God has been teaching and challenging me on. I could write it in a journal, but it being a more public thing makes it more difficult to make excuses! (I’m sure we’ve all been there) And if I’m not updating this, pick me up on it! So here goes…
“Do not get drunk on wine… instead be filled with the spirit” – Ephesians 5v18
It’s not that I drink very much (at all!) but I’ve been challenged recently that actually being filled with the Holy Spirit is so much better than drinking. Being a Christian isn’t always easy or comfortable and it involves sacrifice, and I feel this is one of those sacrifices for the foreseeable season.
Identity. Sometimes I think we lose sight of this as Christians. We say on Sunday at Church that our identity is in Christ, but come Monday morning, we’re back to worrying about what our work colleagues will think if we say this or wear that; we’re drawn into the latest series instead of spending that time with our Father; we’re more concerned with (dare I say) who’s going to win Star Baker on the Great British Bake Off than our relationship with the One who created us and loves us more than words can say or actions can show; and we chase (or pretend not to chase) that guy or girl we like, thinking that they will somehow ‘complete’ us, instead of remembering that God made us complete in Him, or if you’re in a relationship, maybe you prioritise that over God; we’re so concerned with our social media identity instead of putting our roots down into Christ, so that none of these things things will sway us.
God’s will for us is also an innate part of our identity: for us to be in relationship with God. And then there’s also calling and purpose: how do these all fit in? I think I found it quite easy to put off seriously thinking about these because they just seemed so HUGE. But there’s actually so much freedom when we realise that our identity is fully in Christ, and as the freedom grows, so does the joy. As we free ourselves from worrying about what we’re doing with our lives, what our purpose to being on this earth is, and give it over to God, then God reveals more of his character to us: God didn;t design us to worry, he designed us to REJOICE in Him and all that he’s already achieved for us on the cross!
Speaking in tongues: this wasn’t something that I was really exposed to until I went to uni. And even then I found it a bit weird. I mean even when the Disciples first spoke in tongues in Acts, everyone thought they were drunk (but then Paul gave them a mind-blowing Gospel-centred sermon of why they needed Jesus and 3000 people got saved – pretty insane stuff!). So thinking about it now, maybe the Disciples speaking in tongues was the first sign that they had been filled with the Spirit, but then why isn’t that the case today? Is it that it’s not culturally acceptable: people don’t go around speaking languages that they didn’t spend years learning, but it’s okay to laugh or cry? Or maybe we’re just a bit too British. Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 14 about tongues and says he wants us all to speak in tongues but that he’d rather we prophesy.
To me speaking in tongues is an outworking of the deep covenant relationship with our Father: it’s between you and God. But prophesy is for the whole Church: when people have verses, pictures or words that are shared, I believe that’s prophecy – it’s God speaking through 1 person to a whole group of people. But coming back to tongues: if it’s between me and God and it’s a sign that I’m filled with the Spirit, then why doesn’t it come naturally? Well I was challenged that I hadn’t actually asked God to be able to speak in tongues (seems like a total no brainer now!) And lo and behold bingo: when you ask, God gives!
A friend on a Christian camp I went on last week shared this and I found it really powerful and challenging:
‘We stare down at our empty bowl, complaining to God, but don’t see the feast he has set before us.’
God has an amazing feast of GRACE, LOVE, MERCY, COMPASSION and FORGIVENESS. And I want to fill my bowl with these and not get caught up in the wordly perspective that God is distant, unloving and mean.
Thanks for reading 🙂