28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Paul seemed to have been so radical impacted by a short fall during his life, he was so foundation-ally affected, transformed by his falling off a donkey encounter. As he travelled about his business he lost his grip of the reigns, slipped off the back and wham hit the floor. Hitting what ever part of his body first on a hard dusty well trodden roadway. It was not stars he saw around his injured head but he saw an arrival of God, that is as held within the name Yahweh the “ever arriving one”, the God who came and introduced him not to a theology or r even religion and its forms, but to his very own nature the seeing of the nature of God. Just as God is introduced to us in Genesis his very nature rushed into Paul’s void in his life. You might asked how do you know he had a void, let me suggest any one who required a letter to give him the right to conduct himself indicated he had not found himself, maybe?
Light and sound, a voice God nature arrives, Paul on hearing the sounds of God just as creation heard the sounds of God “light be”, so Paul’s short fall some 1 to 1.5 meters off the shoulders of a short animal was a huge distance in his inner being. It’s amazing to some such a small incident for some can be so huge for others. I wonder what was your short fall into a whole new life?
Paul heard the voice of Christ asking, “Why do you persecute me” and some 20 years on, the impact was so evidently foundational to his life that it comes across in him testifying before King Agrippa, the encounter was still powerful to him, still living as the narrative shows, there was still life communicating and conviction pulsating from it to the point in “nearly persuade” the king zeal communicated raise zeal in another.
It certainly was not a take it or leave it approach, Paul said, I have based my whole life’s action, my decisions and direction were all moulded from the foundation of his encounter with Christ and not by his own life’s development, his encounter developed his life! Now that’s a choice for us, can we bring our life, relationships, money and how we use our resources, our focus and priorities, in line with our meeting Jesus, can we choose to be transformed by our onward encounters?
The narrative of Paul’s life indicates to us that something should happen to every one of us, when we truly encounter Christ. The narrative emphasizes that it is certainly not about the emotions or ecstasy of the moment but about what is impregnated into our lives, causing us to change.
It is not just about capturing or thoughts or intellect but impregnating deep within us, who we are, if you and I have met Jesus, that is what actually happened, a “light be” exploded in us, for some it had immediate implications, while for others it might take a period of time for the light to make its course to transform our foundation.
There is an impregnating of seed of life, in a word, in a donkey fall, or what ever is yours, the seed of the restoring of the image and likeness to bring about a burden and a breakthrough.
Each one of us have our own “burden”, we sometimes refer to this as our “call” or “vision”. That which radically changes everything, that which first asks of us, then demands that our every decision and direction aligns towards the vision. In this way it will fill out your understanding and conviction as to what God has destined you to pursue in life.
What I am seeking to give to you written here as principles of life in God, are merely a packet of seed. Seed for you to plant and nurture if they are to become fruitful in your life. Following are simple steps to feed, take hold of the burden that has impregnated, come to reside to bring our live sot a place to make it matter to make our lives count
First Step – THE DEVELOPMENT OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
My enjoyment of fellowship with God started in the initial wave of gratitude for forgiveness which resulted in great joy within me, I was full of praise and adoration for God OUR Father,
In retrospect I see that openness to God and emotional spontaneity were two of the most vital aspects of my early life that have continued to prove fruitful and cause me to progress.
By “openness to God” I mean an attitude of:
- Expectation – God can do anything, at any time, in any way, in any place that I am.
- Hunger and thirst for God, that is pulling on God, doing all I can to set my hope, my desire, my focus, my thinking on God. Many older Christ followers would use the term your “first cause”, to hunger and thirst is to make God my first cause and shape my life according to the first cause I see
- A heart ready and willing to respond obediently to anything God might do or say.
I experienced enlargement of my expectation as a result of what God did in response to my openness. It has become an endless cycle of blessing and increase.
By “emotional Spontaneity” I mean learning to laugh and cry, rejoice and repent, pray and praise, which has developed in me a responsive heart to God. Our emotions are to be cultivated even though they are still to be controlled. People respond to emotion more than to exploitation. This is why, if there are two able preachers in the same vicinity, one excellent in teaching the other very caring and feeling for the people, it has been noted the one who is most likely to have the people deeply joined is the person of emotion rather than explanation.
Developing the emotions makes us sensitive to God’s workings, and leads to knowing God intuitively (in the heart). As yet the mind remains largely uninformed, and although this is not desirable as an ongoing thing, it is certainly our initial experience.
Having said this about the emotions, it is equally true that we need an informed faith. Paul prayed that the “eyes of your understanding be opened” (Eph.l :18). Feelings will change, whereas understanding will deepen convictions. As understanding is built-in so we are built up, which leads us now to spiritual discipline.
It is the cultivation of a disciplined way of life that prepares us for a revelation of God.
Next time we shall visit the thoughts of Spiritual Disciplines. In the mean time let me encourage you to find some donkeys to take a short fall to let the ever arriving God arrive and light fill you again and again.