"Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad..."
I'm sure most people would have an initial sense of repulsion to this passage of Scripture. It seems almost inconceivable that anyone would embrace sorrow as the pathway to a glad heart. And yet, it is just like God to offer us the ironic and contradictory option. A heart is content when it walks through the valley of contention and suffering.
I truly believe that a contrite heart is a broken heart. A heart that is bearing the burden of someone else's pain is empathetic and vulnerable.
As Scripture tells us, "the heart of the wise is in the heart of mourning." One of the gravest errors any Christian can ever make is to assume that their walk with Jesus (to grow in intimacy with Him) depends solely on the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t. We must be accountable and deliberate disciples seeking to intentionally live out our professed faith in Jesus. Some may believe this is addressed if we are involved in the care and service to the disenfranchised. However, I believe this is a skewed view of intentional living in Christ. Why?
Although mandated in Scriptures, the care for the poor and disenfranchised is essential to the Christian life, but in order for us to be accountable and deliberate disciples we must first start with ourselves. It begins with me; with you. We must first delve deep within each of us and pray that God rips out intimately personal planks, before we can ever reach out to take the splinter from another’s eye. We must be brought to our knees and experience the humbling transformation of self before we can ever genuinely profess it to others. This is how we experience genuine intimacy and fellowship with the Light. If not, “we walk in darkness and do not practice the truth,” as it written in 1 John 1. And if we walk in darkness, we then serve ourselves as we “serve others”, while actually exploiting their situation in order to veil our brokenness and to increase our sense of pride.
It begins with deep, prayerful introspection wherein we find the root of the issues that cause strife, conflict, anxiety and insecurities in our lives. When we choose to address these aspects of our self before, during and after they spring up; we will then begin to live an accountable life, i.e., accountable to others (couples/marriage/family/friends/colleagues).
As we embrace this new way of living in Christ, we also choose to seek to heal from these sources of brokenness. We address them with heartfelt tenacity, turn them over to God with a contrite spirit and heart and seek to sever their power over us by praying for their removal in the name of Jesus Christ.
In the end, the Spirit will always provide the power, endurance and cover for us to grow closer and closer to God through Chris Jesus; but the Christian must run the race… and running is never a passive exercise.
If we choose to get on the track and run the race in earnest, we must re-examine what is to be understood as God’s calling for our lives. "To be called", is a phrase most often is associated with ordained ministry, and yet, Scripture clearly shows that as we are members of the Body of Christ, we are called to serve as members of a royal priesthood. Therefore, we are ALL called to serve God in, through and because of Jesus Christ. Whether ordained or not, ALL Christians have been given this holy task. We have all been called into an active life of prayer, intimacy and service in this world as followers of Jesus.
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