What do we have to give? We know we are to serve the world, however we often try to do this- to serve our communities, even our families, from the resources we have inside ourselves, and it is never enough. We are in danger of closing off from the world Jesus wants us to serve. Of closing off from our own call, because we are not equipped and are not taught how to access the fullness of the resource that our relationship with Jesus is.
There is a phrase which floats around; it is the phrase “work/life balance”. It is very sensible; reminding us to look at our lives and check to see we are not placing too much emphasis on one area and creating stress (and eventually literal sickness) in the other areas.
Physiologically, socially, psychologically we are not built to be over stressed in one area to the detriment of others. If we are walking the same way the world walks, then taking notice of this is very important.
Humanity cannot put things in boxes, we are a whole being, and need to behave as a whole being. What we do at work impacts on our mental health, what we experience at home impacts on our work life, our health- mental and physical- impacts on both, indeed it all impacts on all of who we are, without exception. We cannot separate one from the other. (Boundaries are important, but boxes don’t work)
When it comes to The Narrow Way, integration becomes a necessary discipline. Work/Life balance should become a moot point because it is no longer about us balancing different aspects of who we are, but instead, all of who we are is coming under the authority of Jesus.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)
I have been in the place of exhausted, drained, burn-out. Working so hard in christian service there was nearly nothing left to keep me alive.
The double-edged sword (not the God-kind) of protestant work ethic plus a passionate personality helped serve to keep me in a position which was not doing me any favours, mentally, physically or Spiritually.
Jesus took me from this position, set me among people who taught me about the Power of Holy Spirit, and showed me there were depths to a relationship with All of God which I had been searching for but had not previously known was possible.
This changed everything for me.
I discovered the joy of bringing all of who I am under the headship of Christ, being able to let go the stress of managing every nuance of my life.
When we truly walk The Narrow Way, it is Jesus’ responsibility to ensure we are safe, whole and resourced. We are His reputation on earth.
Our responsibility is to remain in Him.
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. John 15:4 (NIV)
This is a big enough responsibility. In fact sometimes it can feel like too much of a responsibility. But it needs to be our sole priority.
Everything else flows from remaining in Him.
Jesus himself modelled this lifestyle while He was here in body.
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19 (NIV)
Everything He did came from His relationship with the Father. I am not going to diminish who He was by separating the humanity He adopted from the God He is and was.
This means when He says ‘nothing’ and ‘whatever’ we need to address it as literal. Jesus healed from within His relationship with God, He spoke from within His relationship with God. These are things we are familiar with and have no problems with.
What we don’t always recognize is this: Jesus’ daily minutia were also carried out from the same place.
Jesus slept from within His relationship with God, He ate from within His relationship with God, He set His personal relational boundaries from within His relationship with God.
This is the place from which miracles occur. If we live from the place where we eat, sleep, breathe, ablute from our relationship with God, then healing and other miracles will naturally occur.
If our focus is to do the will of the Father, to do as Jesus did- as He saw the Father doing- then we have access to the whole of Who God Is.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Acts 3:6 (NIV)
Trying to do any of those things ourselves, cuts us off from experiencing the fullness of God’s supply.
If we reduce Jesus to a mere man, if we look at His time on earth and decide the reason He was in ministry for only three years is because He would have been completely burnt out; we deny the power a relationship with God brings and is available to all of us who choose to follow Him.
Perpetuating that perception is also a way of asserting control over people and denying them the opportunity to experience deep, intimate, personal, power-filled relationships with the God Of All Things.
Our relationship with God is meant to be a place of freedom and power. It is meant to be a place which fulfills the mandate God gave to humanity to bring the good news of redemption, the good news which tells us God is no longer separated from all of creation and can be experienced personally and intimately by all people.
Living The Narrow Way expresses this freedom. The more intimately we walk with Him, the more naturally He will overflow us and be seen in our ordinary lives the way He was seen in the lives of those of the earliest church.
As was seen in the life of Christ Himself, because, Christ Himself is in us.
God Bless You Very Much