September 14, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines IV: Examen

Examen or the examination of consciousness...

How I Recognize God's Presence

Hmmm. I guess as I move slowly through the disciplines involved with the Christian faith I am inadvertently getting in touch with my touchie-feelie side. I recognize there are things going on completely out of my control and that sometimes...I need to accept and deal with my emotions. Emotions that are essentially spiritual side effects when it comes to certain spiritual manifestations taking place in my life or the life of my immediate family. I'm not the complete emotionless robot or knuckle-dragging weightlifter ape many make me out to be (although I appreciate the freedom from the emotional baggage this comparison allows me). On the flip side I am not metrosexual or effeminately homosexual either (yes, it matters). That being said...the recognition of God in my day is in the form of intellectual cognizance. I know He is there and I behave accordingly. I do not need to recognize that He is anywhere per se but enter the day specifically knowing He is present in all that I do whether it me family time, school, solitude, etc. I realize that everything I do reflects on Him in some shape or form. I always acknowledge Him before committing myself to action.

My Response to God's Presence?

I hinted on this in the previous statement. I respond as if I am representing Him. AS Paul said in Philippians 3:20, our polituma I act as if I am the sole representative for Him in humanity (at least I try). As Christians we often do stand in other’s stead as the sole representative for God in secular situations. That sole representative nature means that sometimes, some of the people we talk to or live out our life in front of…will see nothing of God anywhere else in their life. They may see other people claiming to be Christians but we or I may be the only connection they may ever have with the true living God. This places the onus for their salvation solely on our shoulders. This is not a task to be taken lightly.

The Presence of The Fruit of the Spirit In Life
How It Reveals God's Presence and Will

I would have to say that the primary way that God’s presence is manifest is when the fruits of the Spirit are showing in my life and are doing so in a discernible or recognizable way. When they are showing I believe it is an indicator that I am within His will. We know that He dwells within us when the fruits are showing. If He is dwelling in us at that moment in time we know that we are close to the 10 spot or bulls-eye for His will or these fruits more than likely would not be manifesting to begin with. This is not necessarily and ironclad rule-of-thumb but it certainly is an gauge to figure out where you are at. Just like you know you might be standing in the rain if you are getting wet.

The Things God Has Been Doing In My Life Recently

I have clearly been under concerted spiritual attack as has my family. Things have not been easy. I believe God has been stripping out all the superfluous garbage in our lives because God has other intents for us beyond what we can currently see. Apparently these intents are beyond the material things and finances that we have had up to this point in our lives. God is literally redecorating our lives by stripping everything out of them and rebuilding us from scratch. I have had an increasing frequency of preaching opportunities and sermon delivery and also Bible study. Some of which I am being paid for in the form of “love offering”. I am also getting tuition support that covers nearly 100% of my tuition the last few months / semesters. This is clearly no accident, especially in light of the fact that my wife and I were not even sure we could pull this off and also in light of the fact that many I have befriended at school are dropping out do to financial concerns that we are not currently having.

The Themes That Emerge, and How I Attend To Them

Absolute dependence on Him financially, spiritually, etc. It is clear to others that know my family and I that I am being groomed for a leadership position within the body. This fact is probably clearer to others than it is to me. It is clear I am to complete my theological academics as the finances and time is being given (nearly free of charge to get it done). Doors continue to swing open where there weren’t even doors before.

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