There are three evil forces that stand in opposition to the three Persons of the triune God. Satan stands against Jesus as Lord, the flesh wars against the Holy Spirit as Enabler, and the world system opposes God as Creator.
– Frank Viola, Rethinking Water Baptism
As disciples of Jesus, being in relationship with Him must be our focus. When we allow others’ perceptions of us (or even our perceptions of their perceptions!) to control how we live, we are enslaved. We become entrenched in the ways of this world and do not live as citizens of heaven, which is another kind of kingdom altogether. Though there is a sense in which this kingdom of God is still future (Zech. 14:9; Acts 1:6–7), there is also a sense in which it is here now (Matt. 6:10; 12:28). As citizens of this kingdom, we are called to live in a way that reflects the reality of the kingdom of God. When we become overly concerned about our appearance, our spiritual reputation, our coolness, and our acceptance, we are living as citizens of this world rather than as ambassadors. – Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit
Neither expelling nor excluding (conservative temptation), nor perfect explaining (liberal temptation) is our task. True participation in God liberates us each from our control towers and for the compelling and overarching vision of the Reign of God— where there are no liberals or conservatives. Here, the paradoxes— life and death, success and failure, loyalty to what is and risk for what needs to be— do not fight with one another, but lie in an endless embrace. We must penetrate behind them both— into the Mystery that bears them both. This is contemplation in action.
– Richard Rohr, Contemplation in Action
When will we acknowledge that none of our freedoms are absolute? My freedom of speech is balanced with my respect for people who disagree with me. My freedom to worship is bounded by the freedom of others to worship God as they are led or to ignore God entirely. My freedom to own guns (a freedom I’ve never exercised) is held in balance with our national vision of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
– Jim Harnish
Be my armor, God of love,
my skin, my world, my home.
– Steve Garnaas-Holmes, selection from The Armor of God
Do not care much who is with you and who is against you; but make it your greatest care that God is with you in everything you do.
-Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
The Imitation of Christ would like to offer Thomas à Becket as an example that Christians today might emulate when trying to discern their vocational path. … Becket decided, finally, that the only honor worth defending was the honor of God. He freed himself from the burden of trying to please everyone, including himself, and choose to follow a calling that the world—and especially the king—could only regard as madness. Trying to please oneself as well as one’s family and friends can be an overwhelming burden. In contrast, Jesus said his yoke is easy (Matt. 11:30). While it might seem to be the most demanding, depressing, demoralizing, and debilitating thing in the world to try to defend the honor of God—to live as if the good name of God depended on your behavior—in fact, when we take on this “yoke of Christ,” we find just the opposite. Thomas à Becket made clear the true nature of things when he said that defending the honor of God was the most freeing thing he had ever experienced.
– Gregory S. Clapper, Living Your Heart’s Desire: God’s Call and Your Vocation
Click here for another terrific post by Steve Garnaas- Holmes entitled Lay Your Burdens Down.
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