October 16, 2015

Thoughts from Mark

People are born. Sons are forged.

I continually have to remind myself of this simple truth. Too many of us think being born is enough. Let nature take over and we’ll grow into responsible adults. If it were that easy, things would be very different in the world.

But it’s not. Left to our own, sin in the world seeps into our innocence–making crooked an otherwise straight path. Men trend toward lazy and entitled. As a result, women lean into dominance and complaint. It compiles on itself as these bring children into the world. Soon, it’s not just sin in the world, but a human existence we are raised within.

It takes an intentional and decisive shift to walk counter to this culture.

Love is the answer. Love that accepts people right where they are, with all of the stuff their crookedness added to them. Love that says, “Come! Yes, drag all that in with you. Drop it on the floor if you want. Carry it up to your room with you. You are welcome here.”

That is the beginning.

Acceptance is the door. The door is entrance to the Father’s house. And in His house are many rooms. The rooms are all different. They all have different purposes. But they are all in the Father’s house. His house is His heart. It’s who He is. And He is love.

It takes all the rooms to understand Him and to become who we are. The more rooms we are willing to enter, the more of what we dragged in with us becomes uncomfortable and unnecessary.

The door and foyer to His heart are crowded. There, among the throng, are piles of junk and modified vestiges of who we think we are. As long as we choose not to move past the welcome mat and shoe rug, we look around at the eerily familiar vagabonds and assume all is well. We think, with a sigh of relief, OK. We’re here. Looks like we’re in the right place. Everyone else has their stuff too. We’re going to be OK.

It isn’t until we venture deeper into the house that the process of identity discovery–His and ours–begins.

The rooms strewn throughout the house are all open. None are off-limits. Some rooms we enter wash us. Some educate us. Some just make us feel welcome. Some are for rest. Some are for work.

As we venture deeper, the air warms. Some rooms are hot, in fact. We feel compelled to shed our outer layers to alleviate the discomfort. We later realize how absolutely natural it was to remove them. [pullquote position=”right”]What we once thought was so necessary to keep on, makes no sense the more we make ourselves at home.[/pullquote]

The hot rooms intrigue us. Not many wander in to them. You’ve heard that you have to decide to enter. You have to want what’s inside. There are sounds emanating from within. Sounds of pain, even agony. No wonder people avoid them.

But when people come out of those rooms…they are different somehow. A kind of change that’s different than the effect any other room has. There’s a glow to their countenance. They have a more stately posture, a more noble gait. They walk the house as if they own it, not like a visitor or tourist. But instead of arrogant, their ownership is gentle, strong and inviting.

We’ve heard the rooms are called the Forges.

You realize those who have endured the heat of the forge have an authority the rest do not. All are welcome in the home. All have access to any part. But these forged ones, these are upon whom the house rests. The culture of the house is maintained by them.

You see, these rooms aren’t really rooms, any more than this house is a building. The rooms are people – hosts of the culture of the Father. These rooms are sons who have endured the heat of the forge. Tempered by the fires that bring forth sonship. Some sons will wash you with the water of the word. Some are so hospitable you always know you’re home. Some inspire you and empower you to action.

And then [pullquote position=”right”]there are those whom you have to make a conscious decision to do life with[/pullquote]. Those with whom you have to really want relationship. The love they offer is real–and it is painful. It is a wondrous and terrifying love. A love that brings forth the person deep within, who you hoped was real–while simultaneously removing the false hiding him or her.

These forges are fathers. Ones who are not intimidated by our throes of pain, our curses in agony.[pullquote position=”right”] Fathers, so convinced of who’s inside, won’t give up until the son is revealed[/pullquote]. Their love hates our suffering, yet is strong enough to endure it and remain committed to who we really are. They promise a cool bath in-between times in the fire. That’s what tempering requires.

Every room is the Father. Every part of the house is bathed in the light of His love. Jesus, the firstborn among many brethren, is the chief son among many sons. These sons, forged by the fullness of the Father’s love, ensures the culture of every part of the house.

The Door is always open. His name is Jesus and His sound is “Come!”. Within this house is everything you’ve always dreamed of–the good dreams and the nightmares. His love is so welcoming that you can enjoy the entryway and be thankful to be home. Or, you can come inside and realize all of who He is. And all of who you really are.

This is how the world changes. This is how sin’s effect is permanently done away with. All are forgiven yet sin still reigns. So many have accepted His acceptance yet creation still groans. There’s a reason…

People are born. Sons are forged.

In love,

Mark