Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"What You Possess Possesses You"

Ever heard the phrase?
I’ve heard it stated many times in an anti-materialistic way.
Things bring responsibility. Things claim our time. Things claim our resources.
Our hearts can get entangled and consumed by things.

I don’t think I ever related it to the spiritual side of things, though, until I was writing a post today for the discussion forum in Western Literature class.
We’ve been studying Crime and Punishment. In the end, the destiny of one of the characters is described thus: “He did not even know yet that his new life had not been given him gratis, that he would have to purchase it dearly, pay for it by a great heroic deed…”

The statement itself sounds somewhat incorrect because of the way it’s worded. As followers of Christ, we know that redemption itself is a gift of grace without works, that no man might boast.
And yet, though we can never purchase salvation by our own heroic deeds, in one way salvation is an example of the saying “what you possess possesses you,” for out of us it draws commitment if we are to be known by the fruit we bear and the love we display.

Before we ever do anything for Christ, He loves us and is willing to give us the gift of new life if only we request it of Him. Yet we ourselves are then called to actually live in a new way. We are given Christ and the salvation that is in Him, but after we receive Christ *He* receives us as well. We become His bondservants, not because He is trying to extract payment from us for the life He freely gives, but because this new life is a commitment that inherently drives us to serve God. They shall know we are Christians by the love we now show, even though it was Christ who first loved us and whose first love is the very reason we are now capable of displaying Christ-like love.

With gifts comes responsibility. Along with new life comes the responsibility to actually live in a new way, to allow ourselves to be conformed to the image of the One who redeems but also calls us to higher things. Becoming a person who acts nobly takes practice and effort, suffering, surrender, and willingness to go through pain for the joy set before us.

I don’t want to be attached in this way to any material thing, but I surely don’t mind being possessed by Christ. I want Him…and I love how the feeling is mutual, even though He’s so much higher and wiser. If He entangles my heart in Him, claims my time, asks me to dedicate my resources to Him, that’s certainly okay by me.
He’s the one who gave them to me anyway.

I am my Beloved’s, and He is mine.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Immerse me in Your peace.
It is balm for weary souls.
It is rest from speculation.
It is trust You're in control.

It's hard to trust You, God, when You say, "Put your will there."

My heart is here, not there.
But You are everywhere, and You will be with me wherever You lead me.
Take my heart in Your hands.
Pull out every thought that was born of me, not You.
If You'd just take a scissor and cut off all protruding signs of thoughts astray,
Other people would see them as nipped in the bud.
But You see more than they see, desiring truth in inward parts.
If inner roots that I can't reach need weeding out,
If You need to disentangle thoughts or pull or re-arrange,
I give You my permission.
My heart's Yours anyway.
If the process isn't fun, that's okay.
I don't ask you to take away the pain;
Sometimes it's painful to be healed, and sometimes it's hard to be corrected.
But it's worth it.
Only take away the pain that's caused by lack of trust.
Fear doesn't change the past; it only harms our futures.

Immerse me in Your peace.
It is balm for weary souls.
It is rest from speculation.
It is trust You're in control.
And when my faith is faltering because my heart is here, not there,
Remind me You are everywhere.
You'll never lead me away from You.
And pain doesn't change the fact that in Your presence is fulness of joy.
In Your presence is fulness of joy.
In Your presence is fulness of joy.