Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Alignment, Part 3

Alignment Questions:
Jesus, align my mind with your mind
Jesus, align my emotions with your heart
Jesus, align my will with your will
Jesus, align my life choices with your priorities.

I love this quote, “I cannot take from other areas of my life long term; eventually they will need to be paid back.” (the Power of Full Engagement)

You know the reality. You borrow time from your family as you put extra time in that project at work. You borrow time from exercise as you spend more time vegging in front of the television. You borrow time from being with Jesus because you have to get out the door to beat the traffic.

The challenge with the borrowing, however, is when the areas borrowed from get paid back. If the borrowing goes on too long, eventually the bank account is totally empty and the loans have closed up. Suddenly, we are faced with a crisis: a physical illness, a job lost, a spouse fed up. Either we begin to change, or we lose what we had.
Jesus knows this about us as people. But, his heart for us is so big that he teaches us a way to stop borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Instead, he teaches us, to align our will with his will so that our lives are full of balance, bringing us to a life of fulfillment and freedom.

Consider this story from John 4: Jesus and his disciples are walking through Samaria on their way to Galilee. They all got hungry so the disciples went off to find food, leaving Jesus resting by the village well. They were astonished when they returned and found Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman. This was a big cultural leap because men didn’t speak to women, and Jews didn’t speak to Samaritans.

But, Jesus knew that his conversation was a heavenly appointment and his earlier hunger was taken care of by aligning himself with God’s will. He tells his disciples when they offer him food, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”
Nourishment. This is the area of our lives that we all crave. Our bodies crave nutritious food, our emotions crave nourishment: nurturing. Our spiritual lives cry out for the Lord’s daily manna (bread): his Word.
So, Jesus teaches his disciples, (that’s us too), that we are nourished, nurtured, strengthened, given life fulfillment through doing God’s will.

So, I can hear you asking: that’s great, but how do I know what God’s will is?

Good question!
It starts back with our first alignment question: Jesus, align my mind with your mind. It progresses with the next alignment question: Jesus, align my emotions with your heart. It is only when we are consciously seeking to align our thinking with God and our emotions with his heart that we can be clear that we are aligning our wills with his will.

This is the reality for many of us. We like having Jesus in our lives. We enjoy the process of prayer and worship and like to tell people that we are part of a church. But, Jesus wants more of us than to simply have him in our lives. He wants to be our life!

Jesus created every one of us with a divine purpose. Part of the pursuit of our lives is to discover that divine purpose so we can live it out. We rarely make an intentional decision that we don’t want to know our purpose, in fact, it is much more likely that it is a result of many small choices that lead us in a completely different path than we were originally created to live.

When our mind is misaligned, it is easy to settle for mediocrity or the bigger paycheck or the half hearted relationship. When our emotions are misaligned, it is easy to shy back from a relationship that could be challenging but result in deep intimacy. When we take a small step away from God’s mind, heart and will, we often find ourselves in places that we never dreamed we would experience, almost moving robotically through our days because we experience so little joy.
Not because of big choices, but because of a series of small decisions that set us off in a different direction.
It’s never too late.

God is a God of second chances; this is what the cross is all about. As you begin to press into aligning your mind, emotions and will with the Lord ; Jesus will rise up and bring you right where you long to be.

Do you recognize mind, emotions and will? This is the description of our soul. The challenge of following Jesus is giving our Spirit (the place where God dwells in us) the freedom to lead, intentionally disciplining our soul to follow, and then as we align our souls, our bodies will automatically follow. But, that’s next week’s reflection.

For today, I challenge you to consider where your will is out of alignment with God’s will. I pray that you will spend time reflecting and asking Jesus to show you where you are missing the nourishment of being fed by your connection to him. When he gives you a clue, pursue the clue until you have clarity over what needs to be realigned!

Then you can say, along with Jesus, “My food is to do the will of God and to accomplish his work.” John 4:34

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