Things Above

As I was travelling to uni this morning I was reading Colossians 3:

If you then were raised with Christ, desire those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

It’s a profound verse. And I got wondering…

What are the things above?

I mean, I’ve read this verse hundreds of times, but I’ve never actually made a concrete list of what those things above might be referring to. And it’s all very well having this verse in my head but if I have no idea of what it’s talking about then it serves me very little indeed. 

#diddlysquat

Now God is very kind. Just a little further down He gives us some clues to help us along the way:

So embrace, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, a spirit of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and longsuffering. Colossians 3:12

Wow, Heaven is beautiful. 

But my lesson didn’t end there. 

No, God is more than just the words on the page and by the time I reached the end of my day He had brought to light some of my ‘mis-focus’ that was in need of His heavenly affection. 

I had come to realise throughout the day just how much I was worrying about what people think of me… and worry is definitely not one of those things above focuses. I mean, who wants to set their affection on worry? That would be ridiculous right?!

Now I’ve heard before, ‘You shouldn’t worry about what people think’. And sometimes I don’t. And sometimes I have hurt people because I don’t. But that’s because there’s more to it than that. 

I shouldn’t spend my time worrying about what people think because a. I died with Christ and b. I have far too much to invest in being concerned about setting my desire to showing kindness, mercy, love, patience, generosity, humility, gentleness, grace…

Those things above. 

Right. 

Re-focus, back on track. 

The Betrayal

I grew up believing, “Be led by my mind”

But my mind drove me so hard I cracked. 

So I thought to myself, I will follow my heart

But my heart, it turned out, was just weak. 

So I resolved that instead I’d be led by my soul

But my soul was destructive and tricked me to hell. 

Then I broke down in tears and said,

“God where do I go?”

And He whispered so softly,

“Where rivers do flow.”

See we weren’t made to live by our heart or our head

But for all that we are to be poured out in love. 

And the Spirit will lead us so beautifully…

We are free. 


“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

What I’ve Learned From Failure

I stumbled across this beautiful blog today and read Rhi’s post on failure:

http://www.heygorg.com/2014/11/pep-talk-tuesday-failure-option.html

As much as I wanted to drink it in, every word she was saying, in my heart I felt myself saying, “But you don’t know what I’ve done, you don’t know the ways I’ve failed. My failure doesn’t even qualify as failure, it’s been so bad.”

Yea I’ve been on a tough ride this last little while. 

And then I thought, 

You know what. There is something I’ve learned from my failure. It has not been completely unproductive and devastating.

I’ve learned about mercy.

Mercy that is always undeserved, because that’s it’s very nature. 

Mercy that brings you to your knees with unrelenting tears of thankfulness. 

Mercy that holds you, and strengthens you, and compels you to love. 

Mercy that triumphs over judgment. 

Mercy from the throne. 

Honest Expression

God really loves our honest expression. The truths in our hearts and the way we choose to live these out. 

So often when we open up our hearts and are really real, something comes along to try and shut us down. Accusations, someone pointing out our flaws, mockery, disdain, rejection…

We have a choice about how we will respond. And it’s so natural to close up! To get hurt and so respond by putting up walls, building pride or judgment and holding pain, resentment, unforgiveness. But God so gently beckons us to come to Him and be real with Him because He promises not to judge us. 

The wicked watch the righteous, and seek to kill them. The Lord will not forsake them to their hand, nor condemn them when they are judged. Psalm 37:32-33

We just need to let Him in, be real with Him, release our hold on those self-defences and let Him restore us again. 

Continue in our honest and heartfelt expression. 

The Substance of Absence

I’m gonna be really raw and honest here. Just a quick health warning. 

‘Fear is the substance of things not hoped for.’

I read the above in a book that God clearly highlighted for me to buy this weekend. It made me stop in my tracks. 

Fear is the substance of things *not* hoped for. 

For a long time, actually as long as I can remember, I have struggled with social anxiety. At times it has been so bad I have basically been a recluse. I would feel this state of panic stepping out the front door, I would freeze at the thought of speaking to people and I would quickly spiral into a state of depression and inadequacy. 

Other times I would have some relief, either some self-medicated solution (hide behind someone else, hide behind a facade, hide behind my self-efforts…) – actually yea, hiding came into it big time – or I would receive some freedom in prayer and ministry…

But I have never seemed to be able to fully maintain it. 

The thing is – if I’m totally honest – I don’t actually have any expectation for people to like me. I don’t think they’ll want to be my friend and I certainly don’t think they’ll find me fun to be with. My self-esteem has been so low it has not allowed room for hope. 

So I’ve been drawn to people who just need someone who will care for them, you know, broken people who are looking for compassion – because that I can give. 

Or at least, I thought I could. 

Turns out my own insecurities don’t hold up too well under the storms either and compassion not rooted in love may as well be false. 

If I have no hope in building friendships and being able to relate to people well it’s because my faith has been placed in the wrong god – a god that ends in death and does not embody perfect love. A god that is neither a perfect father, nor a source of life, nor unconditional love. 

And that is not who my God is. 

I feel challenged to the core. I have so much to learn and so much more to love. 

But hope is the key. 

So strip off that striving girl and let hope arise. 

But also a Lion

Let us not forget the Lamb is seated on the throne, He is victorious, He has overcome. 

I am so often so tentative in approaching people, decisions, new things… but we were made to be courageous. Ironically some of the best decisions I have made for the sake of the Kingdom have been when I have just gone with it. When it didn’t even cross my mind to think of how I would be received but I chose just to be strong and to step out.

I’m fascinated by ballet and occasionally do a little Pilates and there is a real focus in these activities on developing and strengthening your core. Because when your core is stable, the moves just come that much more naturally. 

I believe it is like that with God. He works on restoring and strengthening and empowering our core so that we can move with agility, grace and authority almost like it is second nature.

Which it is. 

#BornAgain

And in that place we can find we have the strength, that inner roar, of a lion. 

Sure we will come up against our battles, but the Lord will remain faithful to us there. He will vindicate us of all wrongs and give us grace when we need it most. Because He continues to fashion us and form us into His likeness. 

Hallelujah!

Jesus reigns.