So in the last week three things have happened, and I’m going to attempt to tie them together in some cohesive way in order to make a blog post…
In reverse order, for no reason order than it’s handy to backtrack…
Today I was telling one of my students about a time when I was a kid and we (as in me and my rather epic parents) tried to drive our old Land-rover down a flooded coastal road. As in, we were driving a completely flooded and supposed-to-be-undrivable covered-with-ocean-road in our old 4×4, my Mum sitting on the bonnet, my Dad behind the wheel, and a random boat of fishermen sailing alongside and cheering us on… (Yes. These are the memories that seriously make a childhood!)
Last night I met with some friends from church to pray and read the Bible, and it ended in this amazing 6-guitar-worship-session that just totally lifted and refreshed my heart in a wonderful way.
On Thursday I was hanging out in my friend’s bar and praying that I would be able to communicate something of the love of God.
And so, what do these things have to do with each other, I hear you ask?
Well… They are tied together by a question that Holy Spirit dropped right into my heart when I was sitting in said friend’s bar.
Peta, what it is you are inviting them to get saved into?
Sounds like a stupid question, right? I was like, ‘Well, duh… Holy Spirit. I mean obviously, I’m praying that they get to know Jesus in all His life-changing, forgiving, reigning-as-King, awesomeness…’
And Holy Spirit, because it was really me who was kind of missing the point in His question had to clarify… ‘No Peta. What is it that your life and your words are inviting them to get saved into?’
Because this is the thing, and the super challenging thing for me. Very few of my non-Christian friends have ever set foot in a church. Almost none of them have ever heard anyone talk about Jesus at all. For many of them, I’m the first Christian friend they’ve had… I might even be the only Christian they hang out with on a regular basis.
And so here was the thing Holy Spirit was challenging me with… What is my life showing? What are my actions shouting? What are my words meaning?
Exodus 19 v 5 says, ‘Now therefore, if you will hear my voice and guard my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people..’ The words ‘special treasure’ here are better translated as a precious jewel, or a specific item of vast worth.
So, fast forward to Revelation 21 vs 11, 18-21.
The very walls of the city of God are described as being built with an elaborate list of stunning jewels or stones. Jewels of great worth.
It’s a beautiful, radiant picture of our literal hope.
But if the city described here, and this stunning imagery, is more than just a physical description, but one that points to and represents us as the bride, then it takes us right back to that verse in Exodus.
And it changes everything.
We are the very jewels of God.
And what then, gives these precious stones their value?
Why do they have worth?
If you look at literal pictures of that list of jewels, you’ll see an overflow of shades, and colours, and vibrancy.
But the colours are rich, (and here’s the bit that just wakes you up) only because of the stone’s ability to catch the light.
How much a stone can reflect determines its colour.
And it’s colour determines its value.
And I am transformed into a precious jewel of the Most High, into the beautiful daughter of my heavenly Abba, by how much of His light, and His heart and His Spirit I reflect.
By giving Him my heart so that He can align it with His.
His righteous, perfect-justice heart.
Because then the colour shines.
And His grace saves me and gives me a new identity as a precious stone in His Kingdom. But it’s my choice to position myself before Him and to say, ‘Abba, I want to radiate You. I want to shine so that Your character can be displayed through me. I want to love the things You love and hate the things You hate. I want nothing to stop the pure, shining reflection.’
And so, I was sitting in my friend’s bar, laughing and joking and talking… And in my heart I was floored by this question of Holy Spirit.
Which is why last night when I was singing worship with some of my beautiful church family, I really began to pray out some of these desires. That I would radiate afresh all that God wishes to display in my life.
Which is why this morning when I was talking about driving through the deep waters with my crazy family, I was reminded that it symbolises the invitation that I pray my life can over out to my non-Christian friends.
Because I remember my Dad being adamant that even though the road looked un-drivable, he knew there was a way through. I remember his faith in the road. I remember my faith in him. I believed that if he said there was a way, then there would be a way. It didn’t matter to me that I couldn’t see it. He said it. I believed it.
I think my Mum had the same level of trust.
And so it often feels like with God. We have faith in Him, even when we don’t see. We trust that when He promises to make a way, the way will be firm and steady. We walk by faith and not by sight. We learn to trust Him.
I guess, that as I journey the Gospel and the good news out with my friends, I’m inviting them to join me out in the depths. In the place where grace is so real, it’s actually audacious. I the place where everyone thinks you’ve lost your mind.
Everyone except the little child sitting on the bonnet, and the young woman wading in water up to her chin, and the Father who drives in faith and a knowledge of where the road is even in the unseen.
You might get cheered on by fishermen along the way. You might get heckled. But one day even they will see the journey for what it is.
The way to freedom.
The way to freedom that is through the depths.
Ok. So I have a worship practice that I need to get to, so let me leave you there.
Happy, wonderful, Saturday, people!!