Saturday, August 25, 2012

LOL: Can You Relate?

Memory/Meditation verse: "...for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness... ~ Phil 1:7-8 (ESV)

Living Out Loud...what does that really mean? Can one shout out the name of Jesus without using their voice to live out loud? Can one be in the world, among the sinners, and still live out loud? It made me think of Paul in his letter to the Philippians (chapter one). Paul had a passion for his fellow believers. He was driven to nurture their spiritual growth, no matter where he was because of what he had experienced in his own life.

Can you relate?

I can. Paul was driven for the eternal. The passion resulted from a messed up life against God that tasted the sweet flavor of grace. When you really experience it, experience it from a brokenness of self, it changes you to your core. A passion and drive boils up from your innermost being and takes hold of you.

Can you relate?

I can. It radically changed Paul and it should radically change us too. Instead of becoming one of the greats among his own people Paul was drawn to the Gentiles, the people of the world, people he knew needed Christ just as much as God's chosen people.  His passion to bring "them" to God caused his own to target their attacks on him. They wanted to prison him into his past and not accept him for his transformation or where that transformation came from.

Can you relate?

I can. Did that stop Paul? No, if anything it fueled his passion even more and drove him to love God more and to love others more for Him.

Can you relate?

I can...but I fall short here....

Our Damascus road experience wraps us in a blanket of God's grace. We embrace it and cling to it. It becomes our life line and it should. But some people struggle to live beyond the experience, to live it out loud and to share His grace with others who so desperately need it. 

But the Master can slowly loosen the grip owe often have on the experience. He will gently pry each finger back to show us that His grace will not be taken away.We find we can hold His hand and live His grace out loud. It is within this realization that we can allow that passion of living in His grace to grow and drive us to share it with others....the gentiles in Paul's case, the broken Christians in mine.

6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. ~ Philippians 1

Three words stand out to me in Paul's letter here: Imprisonment, Defense, Confirmation.

Paul was imprisoned in a jail but he had also been imprisoned by his past. One's past can really cramp one's future if it is allowed that control. Paul demonstrated a life lived out loud by not allowing his past to control who he was-grace gave him permission to do this and it gives us permission to do the same. This grace has the power to control our living out loud.

Paul found himself defending the teachings of Christ. He lived God's truth among the world of sinners. He didn't shun the world, or  start a commune to protect himself from the world. Like Christ, he went out into the world with an eternal purpose, a drive to bring others to Christ.

Paul was able to confirm God's grace by his living. Like Christ, he was persecuted, he was shun, he was mistreated, talked about unfavorably, and people wanted to label Him from His past...the carpenter, not The Christ. Jesus confirmed God's grace by living out loud and giving out loud where He was and among the sinners.

Can you relate?
My Holy and Sovereign Lord, Abba Father, you are my reason for living out loud. My brokenness, my Damascus road experience lead me to your beautiful  grace and I am so grateful. My heart yearns for others to experience You as I have. You have place this passion and drive to live out loud deep within me and I ask you to lead me in it. I pray today that I boldly live imprisoned by your word, not by my past. I pray I boldly live in defense of Your word and not of who I have become. It is not about is about You. I also pray I live as a confirmation of who You are and what You can do in a broken messed up life. I love you but I want to love you more.


Marilyn in Mississippi said...

I came here from Elaine's blog today. I very much enjoyed this post. I,too,want to live my Christian life ''out loud'' so that others around me can see Christ living in and through me!

Keep up the good work!

God bless you.... Mississippi

Pamela said...

I love those words, "Living out Loud." Showing love, showing peace, showing forgiveness, showing joy... I'm not "there" but God is helping me day by day.