Yesterday, the last day of August, I took some time to reread my first journal entry for the month. I was surprised to discover a link between my reflections from the past two weeks and my first journal entry for August. In my August 1st reflections, I was conversing with the Lord about his desire for his people: in his words, "...to know the deep call to surrender to me as their Lord and King. (Generally) they know me as Savior, but that is all." He went on to say, "I call my people into a deep, intimate relationship with me that can come only through surrender and deep trust. I am with them, yet they hardly know me."
As I reflected on those words in my Aug. 1 reflections, I realized that my more recent reflections and journal entries have been about one aspecct of holiness, what it is, and what it looks like in daily life. The emphasis of my musings has been on surrender to the lordship of Jesus, and in surrendering more and more in the moment to do as he leads me to do, I experience a deepening intimacy with him. At the time I did not realize this connecection to my Aug. 1 journal.
This connection is no coincidence; rather, it is a clear demonstration of the work of the Holy Spirit within me to not only hear my Lord speaking, but to also see him at work in my own daily life: as I focus on surrendering to the little nudge to do a personal daily discipline, I sense a deepening intimacy with God. This deepening intimacy is the result of my surrender to the nudges of the Holy Spirit; it is the result that comes from doing what is right.
The past two weeks have consisted of intense reflection, meditation and journaling, in an attempt to put into words that which the Lord has been impressing upon my heart and spirit. I really love that process! It is intense, focused, and feels amazingly holy to me; it happens to me on a regular basis. It is a drive that guides and forms how I spend my time, for I am compelled to continue to think, reflect, and process through writing the theological concepts God is impressing upon me. However, after I have apprehended the intended theological understandings and conclusions, my life seems to get rather quiet on the inside, and I am left wondering what to focus on next.
Yesterday the Lord showed me that the "quiet times" are the times when I get to "practice" the theological insights and truths he has been impressing upon me, and that these times are just as holy as the times of intense reflection when I gain new theological understanding and insight. Right now, that means continuing to be aware of all the ways that I say "no" to the nudges of the Holy Spirit to do a particular task. I am then invited by my God to choose to surrender, to be willing to do the thing I am being nudged to do, not with a resentful heart, but with a willing, surrendered heart. This is the essence of holiness: surrender, and doing what is right. And in the doing, I experience a deepening intimacy with my Lord, Savior and King.
It seems to me that these little daily disciplines are at the center of the sanctification process. Through them, I am being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ my Lord; for he was fully surrendered to the Father's will for him on a moment-by-moment basis. When I choose to surrender to God's guidance as I live through my days, I am becoming like Christ, in that my daily life is a surrenderd life: my heart (my will) is surrendered to my God - my Lord and King. This transformational shift can take place only when I deeply trust the goodness of my God toward me at all times. When I am willing to trust God with absolutely everything in my life, and I am willing to accept his will for me as my own, even in the smallest details of daily living, I am in a holy place. And in this holy place, I am dying to self and gaining more of Christ my Lord.
This is the essence of life in Christ: For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). This is holiness.