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Living in the flow of the Spirit

June 14, 2010

I recently read The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg, a great little find at the Eagle Brook bookstore. In it, Ortberg introduces the idea – the probably not originally his own – of “living in the flow of the Spirit.” You see, throughout each and every day we have a choice – become more of the “me” I want to be, that I was created to be, or not. When I choose to live in the Spirit – allow Him to flow in and through me throughout the day, I become a bit more like the person God created me to be. He writes,

“What if God really is at work in every moment, in every place? What if your job is just to jump into the river? What if your job is to figure out, from one moment to the next, how to stay in the flow? How to keep yourself aware and submitted to God’s Spirit so that rivers of living water flow through your belly, through the core of your being?”

In every situation – work, health, my thought-life – I can choose to move with the flow of the Spirit, or deny it, what Paul calls “quench[ing] the Spirit.”

This idea has revolutionized my prayer life. See, I am a black-and-white, all-or-nothing, “Go big or go home” kind of guy. So, when it comes to my prayer life, I have one of two options – get up at 4am and pray until I have callouses on my knees, or don’t pray at all. To be honest, it’s a kind of bondage, a sort of prayer-prison in which I force myself, leading to incredible guilt and shame. But, if I truly believe that each small choice can be an act of worship, a small prayer to my Creator, then I am released from this burden. I can be free to pray and worship. I can begin entertaining the thought that, perhaps, I don’t have to live on four hours of sleep each night just to get up and have a half-hearted (and probably incomprehensible) time of exhaustion every morning. Now, that’s not to say I don’t want to exercise some self-control and start my day off in prayer. However, the burden has been lifted, and I am now free to give that time to Christ as an offering, not out of guilt or obligation, but love.

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