Well, I haven’t blogged in a while. School has kept me busy, and one of my chief joys in life has been set aside for a while. I love writing and reflecting on things that I am learning, and this morning I realized that I haven’t done that in a while. As a matter of fact, I have allowed busyness to squelch a lot of my passions lately. So, I am going to make a greater attempt to reengage in some of my passions- even while I continue with my studies. It is called setting priorities.
This morning I was walking around and wondering what I should do. My heart was yearning and unsatisfied. It took me about 10-15 minutes of thinking about prayer before I actually engaged in it. Actually, I was resisting doing anything spiritual since I was still waking up and felt tired. But I started praying, and as I prayed something happened that I haven’t experienced in a while: spiritual transformation.
As I prayed, I began confessing sins- the areas of life where I am falling short of God’s expectations. Jonathan Edwards said that confession is like detergent for the soul. He’s right. As I was praying and confessing and asking God to make me into the man he wants me to be, I was reminded that I am responsible for my own spiritual transformation. I don’t transform my own heart- God does! But I must do my part to engage with him. He has already taken initiative with me- through his life, death and resurrection; through community of friends; through his written word; through his Holy Spirit.
My heart was saddened because for months I have been studying God’s word, but in the last several months, I have failed to let His word transform my heart. Recently, I started an exegetical study of the Epistle to the Romans, written by the Apostle Paul. It begins with, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…” The term doulos means slave or servant and implies the complete and utter adoption and commitment to executing a master’s plans, and this absolutely requires the abandoning of one’s internal passions that would direct him to do something otherwise!
I suddenly realized that lately I have not been a servant of Christ. Had I been writing an Epistle, if I were to be honest, I would need to write, “Jeremiah, a servant of himself.” Or, “Jeremiah, a slave to his own desires.” I have been serving my own appetite. Discipleship is the process of spiritual transformation where we are awakened and freed from our self-serving appetite so that we would glorify God by living for Him through the means of His son’s propitiating death on the Cross and his resurrection from the dead and by the power of the Holy Spirit as God’s word and people minister to our lives. It looks like this is the path that I will be walking down.
I find that abandoning my own passions is something that I will not naturally do. It is hard to go against my internal impulse. But so far, just like this morning, I learned that sometimes it starts with prayer and confession. 1 John 1:9 teaches that confession is correlative to us finding God’s forgiveness and being liberated from the shame and guilt of sin. So, principle #1: Confession is the first tool for abandoning our internal passions that keep us from executing our master’s plans.
Does anyone else have any other ideas?