One of the delightful things about this new life with this new brain is that I often get to be surprised by the things that come out of my mouth! Seriously, there are things in my brain that I have no idea are in there. I am convinced that there’s part of me that is exclusively for Jesus’ use because I have no idea what He has stored in there until it comes splurting out of my mouth, or onto my page.
So a few weeks ago, I wrote this: “Part of the process that Jesus has been taking me through has been to cause me to recognise where I was including Him, and where I had managed to leave Him out.” The Power Of Fasting: An Exploration Then I sat there for a while thinking, ‘well, actually, that’s pretty profound...’
The reason being, that all of a sudden, it dawned on me the nature of integration, and the depth that it conveys if we’re actually serious about this Narrow Way business.
So then, let’s talk about integration. The point being; to be fully immersed, taken up with, end all separation…
It’s kinda like having a TimTam with your cup of tea. If you drop your TimTam into your cup, the biscuit and the tea have become completely integrated. It’s no longer possible to separate the two. Sure, you can fish the biscuit out with a spoon, but you still aren’t going to get the tea out of it, and no matter how you try, there’s always going to be biscuit left in the cup of tea…
I’m sure there are better examples, but that was fun hey?!
With our Western Greek thinking brains, we have a tendency to think of putting Christianity on like a jacket. As if somehow, it’s something you can be; like a job title, a committee, or job description that switches off at 5pm. Like if you want to be a hairdresser, you can train, then get a job, then if you don’t like it anymore, you can stop and that’s the end of that. You’re not a hairdresser anymore, you can be a mechanic instead. Or something.
But really, it’s actually more like being a parent. If you have a child. That’s it. You’re biologically a parent forever. No matter what. You can change jobs and you’re still a parent. You can move countries, far away from your children and you’re still a parent. You can pass away and you’re still a parent forever.
Or like getting the chicken pox. I have had the chicken pox. No matter how old I get, if I get lab tests done, they will be able to tell that I have had chicken pox. It’s changed my body chemistry.
That’s the kind of way that choosing the Narrow Way makes us a new person. Choosing Jesus fills us with new life in a way that changes our make-up. It creates a permanent change in us that nothing but God Himself can reverse. It does not give us a job title, or a weekend activity, or a religion.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30 (NIV)
In the same way that I can’t get rid of the chicken pox antibodies, I can’t get rid of Jesus. Then, it’s kind of ridiculous trying to keep Him out of things in my life that He’s already part of.
I grew up with the time honoured analogy; “Are you keeping Jesus out of rooms in your life?” Which is a good analogy, but I feel like it doesn’t take the challenge far enough. It’s implicit, but not clear enough, that if we’re keeping Jesus out of areas in our life, we’re telling Him that we are not willing for Him to be God.
He can be God for ¾ of the time, and is allowed to manage a certain number of things, however; we will keep the God-power for doors number 3, 6, 14 and 29, thank you.
God is the ultimate gentleman. He won’t go where he’s not wanted. At the same time, He’s already there, so, trying to keep him out of your sock room, or work room or music room or book room is well…a paradox.
The God I know doesn’t condemn. He does ask some tricky questions, and sometimes He lets me feel guilty about things that I already know are not right. But he never makes me feel bad for the sake of feeling bad.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)
I think that it is important to be brave and ask Father to let us know where He would like us to integrate with Him more intentionally.
It could be, that one tiny little thing that you do together ends up changing a hundred enormous things!
God Bless You Very Much.