A note I wrote to myself a year ago today.
Every atom of my being is continually being changed, transformed, and conformed to Him and by Him who has created me. There IS power in the Name, in the teaching, in the life, in the way of the man-God who is Jesus. The more I reflect upon His words, the more His grace floods my being…purging that which is not Him. Overwhelming me with His love, I realize I am far more valuable than I’ve ever been able to comprehend. He came to me while I was blind and unknowing. He opened my eyes to see the beauty before me. I felt love seeing my own reflection in His eyes. Life is worth living to the full, today, knowing eternity will be with my saving, loving, always-with-me God. #Jesus #PerfectLove
This is a great reminder for me.
I did not plan for the sequence of my study and reflections this past week or so, they just happened providentially (I think). As I’ve taken the time this morning, slowly allowing the past several days to simmer in the silence of God’s voice within me, I “see” the words Abide, Disciple, and Repentance, crystalize into defining components of clarity, focus, and purpose. (This CFP is the signature I will try to align my spiritual formation around this coming year as mentioned in an earlier blog post.) Echoing in this crystalline reflection is the awareness of a new promise I perceive from the Holy Spirit—
“This will happen again and again.”
Clarity, Focus, and Purpose will be affirmed and directed by God as I remain in Him—closely related (grafted to Him), allowing Him to wear me like a garment. (Context: (Jeremiah 13:11 – “As a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel (you) to cling to me, says the LORD”)
My reading and study this morning included some additional focus upon the words disciple (Greek: mathetes; Strongs G3101) and repentance (Greek: metanoia).
I like the emphasis that mathetes brings to my understanding of disciple. The word has a connection to the root from which we derive our word “mathematics.” It implies a practitioner is exerting or applying mental effort to think things through. Reading this, I have immediate recollections of Jesus teaching prospective disciples to “count the cost before deciding to follow after him.” Subsequently, another layer of clarity, focus, and purpose is added to my posture.
I started my reflection time this morning with a reading from one of my prayer books. I was introduced to a quote from St. Augustine of Hippo (not my favorite saint), who writes:
Repentance is a gift of the Holy Spirit, a change of heart that leads to vigilance and recollection. It is a ray of light that at once reveals our self-satisfaction, arrogance, and heedlessness, and gathers us into the plentitude of the here and now. As repentance opens the feeling, “inward joy and gladness mingle with what we call mourning and grief, like honey in a comb.” –Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
I’m drawn to Augustine’s words about repentance bringing us to act with vigilance and recollection, avoiding heedlessness. This helps me, giving further affirmation to the path being set before me for the coming year. The CFP signature seems to be grabbing and taking root in ways that I had not expected. Vigilance or sustained concentration (adding a dash of seasoning from the mathetes understanding of “applying mental effort”) really brings a vivid color for what it means to focus for me. I feel very encouraged with the words I am hearing, seeing, and feeling today and I’m looking forward to the fruit that will be produced by staying vigilant to this course.
The final point of affirmation for me from this reflection comes from a lectio divina reading of John’s Gospel (John 15:9-17). These are among the final words of encouragement and instruction that Jesus gave to his disciples. As much as these words have been given to the Twelve, I receive them as words given to me.
- Remain in my love…
- Obey my commands…
- Love each other…
- Lay down your life… (iCrucified—Gal. 2:20)
- You are my friend…
My clarity and purpose are given another wash of color and layer of depth with Jesus’ words with a kick-to-my-rear from my not-favorite-saint, Augustine, to not succumb to heedlessness. I have direction, affirmation, and the sense of the firm hand of God upon me for this next stage of my journey. I will remain focused with clarity and purpose. I will do my best to be vigilant, not forgetting or ignoring my responsibilities.
To God be the glory. Great things He is doing.