C.S. Lewis said, “If we do not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows, then we must starve eternally.”
Early on in my walk with Christ I discovered that unless I worked to put myself in a place for God to feed me, a lot of ‘good things’ would displace my passion for Him. That included ministry in a dorm, homework, a serious girl friend, and a full-time job running Division 1 track & field. I have a vivid memory of breaking down before my mentor Dave, telling him I was tired, and feeling like a failure. I had put all my promise in hard work, and faithfulness, but hadn’t back loaded it with that intangible spirit led stuff that brings life to your soul. Running on empty was putting it mildly. Let me suggest a three-fold discipline which we can apply every day, and thus remind ourselves that it’s eternal food we need in order to sustain our walk of faith, and bring Christ to our daily experiences.
Take Deep Draughts….The well dries up when the wheels of activity are spinning fast. An urgent toss of the bucket, taken between events, or before stress filled activity, does not reach the water below. But when I slow down, I can immediately feel the pulse of my spirit respond, and that’s when the water fills, and my bucket reaches the living waters that Jesus promised would refresh and transform me. Deep draughts mean truth poured into canisters of clay, metabolized as grace, and lifting the head to see the face of Christ. Last week I scheduled some time to sit before Him, just wait and listen, pray and worship. The pace of ministry had my head spinning, and my spirit pining. That morning the bucket hit the water! I’m still reeling from the eternal food He fed me. Most of it had to do with repentance.
Pursue Thorough Repentance…. The cadence of a regular week hardly affords the luxury of this, but what is the alternative? When I carry sin any distance at all, it tires my soul. It’s a weight never intended by God for me to haul between points. Surrender has an under side, a soft place where God moves into my tangled motives, easy omissions and outright rebellion, and releases strength for me to leave behind the sin that entangles, or besets. When I repent without reserve, it reminds me that sin has had mastery, that Christ has forgiven me, and that an unobstructed path has opened for me to fellowship with God.
In His presence is fullness of joy. Can we approach God, I mean really join spirit and Spirit, without a turning from a myriad of subtle and obvious acts of independence? I don’t think so. Honesty is the bucket we toss into living waters, that allows us to retrieve a life giving, instructive and formable Spirit of Grace.
Breathe Honest Prayer…A definition of prayer is honesty before Love. Whenever I try to out flank God with my formulas, or rhetoric, or even my super-charged emotions, it has the affect of dulling my senses, rather than quickening them. Honesty lays me bare before pure grace, and reminds me that at my worst, God does not wince. Rather, He’s excited that now we have hit a place where we can meet him, the place of truth. That’s the only basis for pure surrender, and the life giving presence of His Spirit. I penned the following prayer last week after God had bathed me in a sublime light of truth.
”Tender Shepherd, I crawl up upon your strong shoulders to get a better view, for my sight has dimmed. I want to feel the cadence of your frame, a faint rising and falling, to know you’re here, here to push all truth into this canister of clay. I want to hear the voice I have known, but which has faded into the clamorous pursuit of good goals, quality relationships and a calling that has become more job than joy.”
By the way, what’s spilling out of your canister when God shakes it up? I hope it’s some living water freshly retrieved from the endless source of eternity.