September 12, 2013

Thoughts from Mark

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. – Paul to the Galatians

Spiritual.  I’ve often wondered how God would define that word.  What does “spiritual” look like to the Lord?

Paul gives us a hint here.  Spirituality is restorative, gentle and aware.  Being spiritual seeks to bring others into their original and most valuable state of being.  Its culture is gentle and kind.  And its always aware of how sin is deceitful and cunning, crouching at the door, seeking whom it may devour.

Spirituality’s fruit is in our relationships with others.  So often we have considered spirituality to be in how much time we spend alone in prayer, bible study and ministry.  But its true measure is simply found in how we handle the frailty of another.

Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. (Gal. 6:2 AMP)

The purest form of spirituality is Christ.  Not trying to be like Him.  But allowing Him to be Himself in us.  A deliberate I no longer live, but Christ who lives in me.

Christ in us does not judge, correct or deal harshly with the burden or fault of another.  It doesn’t point its finger, declaring boldly the presence of sin.  And Christ in us certainly does not criticize and ostracize because of it.

Instead, Christ in us is unashamed to pick up the burden and moral faults of another.  Verse 2 above actually means that the law of Christ is the willingness to walk with and identify with the troublesome aspects of another for an extended period of time, in order for them to eventually be free.

This is true spirituality.  And there isn’t a better way of exemplifying what Christ did for us on the cross than this.  To pick up your cross and follow the Lord is to carry your brother, in all of his mess, until he is free.

How many of us are unafraid to be identified with the sin of another?  How many are willing to run to a fallen one, pick up his stuff – his junk, his sin – and carry it with him until he no longer needs or wants it in his life?

You see, its this kind of love that set humanity free.  A Love, so secure in who He is and who His Father is, that He didn’t mind being identified with sin, though sinless Himself.  A love so enduring and complete, that it still continues in its mission and power 2000 years later.

And this love, willing to carry, endure and identify with another’s burden and troublesome moral fault, is the power to set free.  Only love can permanently transform.  Any other way leaves the back door open for sin.  But love never fails (does not end).

This is true spirituality.  I long to walk in such a way.  I long to walk with people who walk in such a way.  This is the culture of the family of God.  The intended way of humanity.

If we live (on our own) by the Spirit, let us also walk (with others) by the Spirit. (Gal. 5:25)

In love,