Posts Tagged ‘Sarah’

Easy, peasy. Just live by the Spirit and all shall be well. Why? Because the Spirit can crowd out my desire for all the other stuff. The Spirit is big, a consuming fire, a powerhouse, a counselor, a wise and holy One. So what’s the problem? Apparently, the Spirit is also a bit finicky about the conditions of its dwelling place.

Galatians 5:16-17a
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.

Photo by Cherie Stangis

If I were to compare my inner habitat to a house with many rooms, I think, most of the rooms would be considered pig pens while the Spirit is hanging out in one of the closets. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen this closet. I’ve even been in there. It’s immaculate, orderly, clean, and full of light and color. Additionally, it’s not unlike the Tardis from Dr. Who: once I step in there, it’s a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside.

All right, it might not be quite as bad as that. I mean, there have been seasons of my life, when the Spirit had an expanded domicile into some of the other rooms, but I haven’t been very cooperative and a lot of those rooms have gone back to their original condition. You know how it is, the Spirit wants to paint a room yellow and I’m in the mood for red. So what does polite Spirit do? Lets me have a red room with all that goes with it. One difference, the Spirit doesn’t hang in there with me. My choice. My free will. My loss.

Intellectually I understand all of this. If I just let the Spirit re-decorate the whole place, without my interference, it would look and feel so much different. And the more I consider and study, I’m sure a wholly Spirit-run establishment would become a miracle-working address (mountain moving and so forth).

Face it. I still want to be in control (Harumph! As though I have “interior” decorating experience). I’m not that different from the original Sarah (you know the story: “let me show you how to make God’s promise happen with little Hagar here”). [Genesis 16]

Red, green, and black rooms, all stuffed with furniture while windows are covered with heavy blinds, and electronic gizmos sit in every corner. You know, of course, every room has a refrigerator and a pantry too. There’s one room that has nothing in it but disappointments. Another room has chalk boards filled with all the things I’ve said to hurt others. Another room has pictures of people in my past plastered everywhere; I go in there for target practice. But undoubtedly, the biggest room of all is the courtroom. I have my own dais and gavel and when the memories float by, I pound out my judgments. It’s quite crowded and noisy in there.

How do I begin to tackle all of this? Mind boggling. Frightening. HUGE.

Does this sound possible? First, I find my way back to the Spirit Closet and call that “home base” (need to be sure I can get there from anywhere). Then, from there, with the closet light shining out, I will start on the immediate area near the closet. One square foot at a time.

In the organization business, there are only three choices: throw it away, file it, or act on it. Although I know that courtroom is the biggest and hardest room to clean up, I won’t jump in there just yet. I will start smaller and get a little experience behind me, particularly the “throwing away” choice.

If I give over each of these rooms to the Spirit, I know, most of the stuff I’ll find is junk. I’ve been hoarding. I know it. But, confession, I’m pretty sure, when I get to those really messy rooms, I’ll probably need some help. That’s where community comes in. Can I count on you to help?

It’s time for a little Light housekeeping.

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Does it matter–our genealogy? our heritage? our family line? In scripture, it’s recorded in many ways as quite significant, from the “begats” in Matthew to the repetitive list of kings and their fathers and their fathers. Am I a child of the promise, a child of the free woman?

Galatians 4:31
Therefore, brothers [and sisters], we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Paul goes into a longish discussion of the “figurative” nature of Hagar (the slave woman) and Sarah (the free), who bore children, one “naturally” and the other as the result of a God-promise and power of the Spirit (a supernatural birth). The slave child (and subsequent generations) is born to a time and place in history, while the implication is that the child (and following generations) is of a “new Jerusalem,” a place out of time.

Despite the fact that Sarah and Abraham are usually considered the “father and mother” of the Jews (who we know followed the law), now the focus is on the next step when the Abrahamic children come into their true inheritance. The long-awaited Messiah was part of the promise, the miracle of Isaac. Christ too was born supernaturally. (Isaac was born from an old woman’s barren womb and Jesus from a very young woman’s virginal womb.)

And just so, because I have accepted that same long-promised Messiah as my Messiah too, I become a child of the free woman, the metaphysical, the kingdom of God. I now have a different genealogy than I did before. This is a truer meaning of “new creation.”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [II Corinthians 5:17]

I’m not living in this freedom really. It’s positional only, not internalized. It’s head knowledge, not heart knowledge.

It’s like I’m so close to really understanding the enormity of this truth but not quite. It’s a thought butterfly flitting around my head. I can’t quite grab hold of it. But someday I will. And when I do, I will be changed.

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