These habits will help form a posture of communicating – of living – with gracious conviction. Most of them rely on humility in action; they show and shape perspective at the same time. They are habits learned as we follow Jesus around as his apprentices. They don’t always come easily; as we learn, we still fall short. But this is the Jesus way. We can’t do less – and by God’s grace, it will become easier.
Chaotic change is an uninvited guest. Like an unplanned extra person at an already too-small table, everything seems forced. Decisions have to be made before their time. People have to make room, take on new roles, or change habits even while leading.
What is some of the stuff you need to leave behind as you begin the new year? What can you drop off your weary, bending back to make your trek into the New Year a bit easier and far more meaningful?
Ask the Spirit to show you what God sees when he looks at you. God instructed Samuel to look past appearances and directly into David’s heart. What did Samuel see when he did this? How would you describe your heart to someone who was interested in knowing you at that level?
I have often thought when hearing of another nose-dive from ministry, “not him?” but underlying that has been a naive attitude that has assumed that it won’t ever be me.
This is what happens when we employ shibboleths. We don’t engage in critical thinking, we don’t assume the value of the other person, and we don’t speak with kindness to or about those outside the boundaries of our groups.
Through that grace, we love God fully and love our neighbor fully. That’s the purpose of all our salvation, and in the end, our ministry.
Beware the excuse that lets you off the hook, or lets your friends, your ideological companions, or your heroes off the hook.
We move as quickly as we can, and as slowly as we need to, for as long as it takes.
This “pacing” principle requires three qualities: a sense of urgency, the discipline to slow down when necessary, and the patience to keep on keeping on. Such pacing is an art that allows us to move forward together.
To that, Jesus would say, “It doesn’t matter. The ground of our forgiveness is not our circumstances. The ground of our grace is not emotion.”