Spiritual practice: Purity
For your consideration on this practice, I invite you to read the written piece “Love Above.” This word has been planted in my life over the past week in conversations, readings, and application. The other day a friend shared about a transition to vegetarian practices. I shared my own sense that it was a practice I should adopt. He noted that he didn’t notice the daily difference, but he did notice when he went against the practice. Now, if he eats meat, particularly one that will be difficult to digest, his body rebels.
I have experienced that before. Soda is something that others will give up. They choose other beverages and then, after time, might try soda again. Their body does not know what to do with the substance. Something it once enjoyed, even craved, now stabs the body like an enemy! Our bodies and our daily lives do need a purity scan. There are many practices and consumptions that we have slowly taken on that are not if God’s original design. Our body, our life, adapts to the toxin and tolerates more..and more. Then, with time, it craves what it never wanted.
The topic of purity is often applied to our status as physical beings with sexual desires, and it is good to examine those practices. But if you believe that there is nothing impure in any other area of your life, well, I am concerned for your toxicity levels, friend. Our lives need examination. Our lives crave examination. Our body is a temple and our life is a song, do we not wish to take time to present our best?
A short book that can get you started is Randy Alcorn’s A Purity Principle. You could easily read the book in one day, but the thoughts within it deserve longer consideration. For fun, read it openly at work and see what self-conscious thoughts you have or comments you receive. Reading a book on purity at work almost begs the question: What is wrong with you? You could answer such a question this way: I’m feeling impure and I don’t want to be; I’ll let you read it when I’m done.
Maybe you begin by removing a particular food or beverage from your diet. I am convinced that our physical and spiritual lives are intricately woven together. Be it meat, pop, alcohol, sweets – there is much research available to guide your decision. But do examine and begin. You might not even be aware of the toxins you’ve ingested.
647) Becoming a pen for words I do not claim
646) Observing a student take responsibility
645) God in the unscripted (by me) details
644) Work partner
643) Driving prayers
642) God’s grace tucked into His justice
641) Remembering boots
640) The beauty of a snowfall
Spiritual practice: Surrender
When the weight pressing against you becomes too much to bear, what do you do? Great question, but I am not so glad you asked. If I respond honestly, I would have to say that I “try harder.” That works about as well for me as I imagine that it does for you.
Perhaps as a temporary reprieve you can flex your muscles and try harder. Ultimately, however, you will find yourself pushing against a weight you cannot bear.
I knew that I needed to practice the act of surrender. I knew because nothing else worked. Thankfully I can recall times when surrendering my burdens to God has proven to be exactly the right move. We attempt to carry far more than we have ever been asked, and then we wonder why we don’t seem to be moving like we expected.
I wish that I could adequately describe the relief I experienced by surrendering; I will simply begin by saying that I wish I had done it sooner. But that is how we operate, isn’t it? We measure ourselves by our success against great obstacles. We forget that it is not our success at all; and that is why God reminds us.
I also wish that I could say I had surrendered before helping my sons prepare for school. I did not. In fact, it was my own inadequacy in that department that pushed me to the point of surrender. So, by God’s grace, I brought my sons to school and then had a talk with my Father as I drove to work. It was in that talk that He undid me: undid my false beliefs, undid my false expectations, undid my false fears. In short, He laid me bare. And that was exactly what I needed.
The blessings of the day and the course of the day, I am certain, were only available to me because of what I had set down. My day was filled with more surprises than I can even recall. I was free to receive.
We often sing a remix of an old, old song. With our lives we sing,
“I surrender some, I surrender some (just this and not that)! Some to Jesus I surrender (hey, I said not THAT), I surrender some!”
Thank the Lord there is mercy when we sing, because we often sing a wish more than we sing truth. I surrender some. And tomorrow I will be prone to take it back. Much like the joke of losing 15 pounds but finding 20, we like to measure ourselves against our problems. Alone in that, we will always come up short.
There is an accurate word of encouragement that applies here: Do not tell God how big your problems are; tell your problems how big your God is.
He knows; He is.
Surrender that burden you carry and watch the gift God will pour back into you.