Sunday, June 07, 2015

Dawn & Heather Read Together: Own Your Life (Chapters 7-9)

Hm. I was pretty sure I wrote about chapter 7 last week. But reading Dawn's post reminded me I hadn't. We've decided to cover 2 chapters each week but I'll through in chat 7 too so this is going to be LONG! (Who am I kidding? My posts are always long!)

Chapter 7 is about owning the Holy Spirit's strength through your life. "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) As Christians, we all desire to obey God more, to be more like His Son. But how do we do this? I know I often try to muster through on my own strength. Do more. Be more. It never works & only leaves me feeling exhausted and feeling guilty. I love how Sally ends the chapter by encouraging us to breathe in this truth: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2) NO GUILT!

But... how do we then walk in the Spirit? We study His Word, memorizing it so it shapes our thoughts, goals & actions. We pray constantly and ask God to strengthen us, change us, forgive us, to shape our hearts & minds after Him. We focus on praising God, living a life centered around worship. You see, I'm still doing things BUT it's not by my power- I'm submitting myself to God & relying on HIM to change me. Little by little, He is shaping us into His image. How good He is, how faithful He is! "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)

In chapter 8, Sally discusses the means of grace (she calls them spiritual disciplines). As she puts it, "It's impossible to be godly and mature without spending extensive time with God." (pg. 100) No excuses here. Yes, there are seasons of crazy busyness but if our whole life is characterized by that, I'd guess we (ME!) are not being truthful. Something should go & these should stay:

Reading & Memorizing Scripture: We spend time with people & things we love. In order to know & love God, we must be in His Word!

"In naming His Son the Word, our heavenly Father emphasized His desire to talk to us." (pg. 102)

Prayer: We talk to those we love so we should talk constantly to our Father! Sally encourages the reader to keep a prayer journal & "record the history of God's faithfulness in your life." (pg. 112) When I've done this in the past, it's been such a blessing! I think this is a habit I need to develop!

Worship & Rest: I like to go, go, go. But God has set a pattern since creation of one day of rest from normal activities & demands to rest in worshipping Him. It brings so much encouragement & helps me remember that He is God and I am His (not the other way around).

Sally also recommends a time of daily rest when possible. (Different seasons of life vary the ability of this.) We almost always have a quiet time in our home for EVERYONE & when we do, it helps so much! Quiet time isn't always spent sleeping- we may read, do an art project, write, craft but the time alone & free of busyness helps refresh everyone's spirits! :)

Learning to take risks & owning your faith is the theme of chapter 9. Sally states:

"We cannot sit on the sidelines of the world and expect to please God. Either we engage in the battles of faith as His warriors, or we become Satan's prisoners of war. ensnared so that we are unable to do anything of eternal value, live as victims, and never enjoy the glory that comes from playing our part in God's story." (pg. 126)

What's holding you back from owning your life? Sally mentions these common faith stealers: pleasing men, fear, formulas (i.e., works), flesh (i.e., relying on ourselves). She then encourages the reader:

"If we are truly seeking God's will and ways in our lives, our focus must be on His Kingdom and the eternal soul work He wants to do in us. If we are willing to stay there, the difficult or desperate situation we are in might just be the place in which God wants to do a miracle." (pg. 119)

Sally's examples of taking risk in this chapter mostly focused around ministry outreaches & missionary work. God does call some to this task but I just want to encourage you all that if God has called you motherhood, it's just as valid, worthy and beautiful in His sight! (I know Sally believes this- it just doesn't come across well. Nor does the evangelical church preach this message.) It takes great faith to raise up a godly generation and be a helper to your husband. You'll have to take many risks along the way. You will battle those faith stealers and must combat them by resting in God & His Word, praying for strength. Maybe God will call you to something else also. But I won't say He will call you to more. Because it's enough if that's where you spend your life! :)

Be sure to check out Dawn's thoughts here on chapters 6-9! We would love to hear from any of you who are reading along with us. :)

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