“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
These words of Jesus are meant to be very personal but personal is different than private. This is the year in which my husband of nearly 63 years was killed in a tragic accident, and life continues despite the confusion of learning all the things I must now do alone, AND, life is still impacted by a relentless pandemic. The temptation has been to let grief lure me into believing that isolation must be like rest, right? Not so! Over this last year I have learned a “new” thing about the reality of grace. The less private I’ve allowed my awareness of grace at work in my life to become, the more personal it has become to me.
In this “New” Year of my life I am not relying on a New Year’s resolution, but on the revolution of recovery that Jesus offers me keeping company with Him and other people of faith. We can learn to live the “unforced rhythms of grace,” together, walking and working with Jesus, watching how He does life so we can make living “freely and lightly” both personal and possible. I hope you will join me in this New Year’s Revolution to “recover your life” and to “take a real rest.” Love, Shirle
Poetry: Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style, rhythm and structure.a
Walk by the Spirit!
The desires of the Spirit are against the flesh.
The fruit of the Spirit is:
love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
against such there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh
with its passions and desires.
The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
Do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
The works of the flesh are plain:
fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger,
selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy,
drunkenness, carousing, and the like.
These are opposed to each other
to prevent you from doing what you would.
Have no self-conceit!
If we live by the Spirit,
let us also walk by the Spirit;
no provoking of one another,
no envy of one another!
If you are led by the Spirit,
you are not under the law.
a My poetry structure was created from the RSV Bible using sentences and phrases verbatim.
I noticed and interesting thing after I’d finished my list of word ideas to pursue in these next few weeks. The first word of each combination was capitalized but the second was not. It was only a function of digital grammar but it made me think about those combinations differently. The capitalized word became an attribute of God to be practiced and for sure the lower case one the challenge of practicing them. If I looked at them that way, how were they related? Where is it written?
Zephaniah 3:17 For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you.” Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song. Living Bible [TLB]
It’s a fact! “He will love you and not accuse you.” YOU are the object of God’s Affection! Ponder what walking in that Affection might mean.
It’s the definition of that next word that’s the challenge of our daily life. God looked at the male and female he’d created and because they were the completed image of himself, they were by definition Perfect [with a capital P], weren’t they? Our definition of perfection has taken a turn for the worse and lost it’s capital “P.” Rather than being focused on practicing the Affection of God and who he’s created us to be our focus has become skewed by the complication our own ideas of perfection. God is determined to simplify our lives and change our ideas too. Here’s where it’s written.
Micah 6:6 With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. [NIV]
Our possessions and offerings are different now but they’re still what confuse our perfection. It’s much harder to give the simplest of things – ourself. He knows firsthand our possessions and our wealth are not the answer to our perfection because He personally experienced everything we struggle with. The substitution of Jesus Christ “for the sin of [our] soul” has made the capital “P” part of the picture again for us. It takes time and it’s not easy but it’s simple: Perfection will come with the practice of walking daily in his Affection for you.
“He [God] has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”