We had a post-holiday reflection this week at Bite Nites.
Think about the last six weeks or so, of your summer break.
We had to pick five different events, and we were asked to share what each of those meant to us.
The five were:
- The best thing that happened.
- The worst thing that happened.
- Something we learned.
- Something we remembered (that we’d forgotten).
- What’s next.
We were then asked to pick from nine different verses (I forgot to make notes of them all so will try for later) that were relevant and meant something based on what has happened. Several of us chose to share in the good things that happened, but as you’d expect some were reluctant to disclose the worst things that happened. It is perfectly understandable, and nobody was asked to share anything they didn’t want to; it might be extremely personal and private.
It got me thinking; how often do we build walls around us?
Jesus teaches us to love each other as we want to be loved ourselves, why do we build walls around us?
It is often difficult when we place our worries and fears in front of our spiritual needs. All too often we are wrapped up in our desires, our individual needs, our interests that we ignore how we need to live spiritually; placing all of our physical needs first. We stop listening, not just to God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit, but also to others, and, more exceptionally, to ourselves.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
We all have things that we are reluctant to share with others and they are all related to things that Paul describes as of the flesh – our physical concerns and interests; our thoughts, worries, fears, and feelings that we bury. If we allow those to dwell in us for long, they will slowly rot and decay and grow deep roots within us, evolving into a monster that is difficult for us to tame – it is at that point that we lose all hope of overcoming the barriers we have grown within us. The side effects seep into our psyche. We may lash out mentally or physically, sometimes we isolate ourselves and withdraw from society. It happens when we place our physical concerns over our spiritual needs.
If you find any semblance of this in yourself, take heart, for there is one you can talk to about all of the worry, hurt, fear and stress of your life without the need for worrying about how others will react, or what they might say, or how they might look at you.
The easiest way of doing this is through prayer. Whether this is with your minister, your community support team, through confession, with your loved ones, or privately in silent prayer. God already knows what it is that troubles you, so you should have no fear in talking things through with Him.
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Jesus is there to intervene on our behalf, so pray in Jesus’ name for things to be resolved. You can always ask your prayer team (anonymously if you like via the prayer request box, noticeboard or sheet) to pray for you; I’m sure most churches have an active prayer team.
The point is that you are not alone. It is true when
- Bad things happen.
- You are worried about something.
- Your health is affected.
- You are sad.
- Darkness covers you.
- Shadows devour you.
Do not worry, because you are not alone!
There are no barriers between you and God, between you and Jesus, or between you and the Holy Spirit other than the ones you alone erect yourself. When you are in most need of support, all you have to do is create a door or a window in that wall and open it a tiny bit. What you will receive coming through that small crack in that barrier is more love, more understanding, and more kindness than you could imagine.
Open up the door and let Jesus into your life, let the chains that bind you in your physical life be lifted and be reborn spiritually through the light of the Holy Spirit,
The simplest prayers are sometimes the most effective ones:
1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.