A couple of weeks back I experienced two days that I think will change my journey of discipleship forever. It wont take long but I’d like to share what I experienced with you.
The Monday was my team’s usual prayer and supporter day and as I spent the first half of the day alone with God I was struck by a verse in that day’s Daily Light readings. It was James 1:21, a relatively familiar verse. Holy Spirit gently opened up the words to me and I realised that there are many, many words that God has implanted in my life over the years. Holy Spirit also showed me that I had a part to play in determining to what extent those words would bear fruit in my life; fruit that is the expression of a redeemed soul in the fullness of salvation. I could humbly welcome and receive these words, or not.
I began to write down the many verses, pictures, prophetic words that have been spoken over me by others or that I have received in the privacy of my own times with Father. Words of life, of direction, of hope, words that point to things that are to come and words that speak to things that have been. Some I had received with gladness, some with doubt, some with relief; some I had held to for a while but then let go, many I had simply ‘put on a shelf’ whilst I continued with everyday life not expecting them to impact me in any significant way.
On this occasion though, I was blown away by the realisation of a Father speaking words full of intention and purpose into my life! How could I not have taken him seriously? There is a part of me that struggles to believe that God is good, all the time, to me; but there is another part of me that KNOWS this to be true – how did I not let this part call the shots?
Since then I have been trying, in grace, to remember and welcome God’s words spoken into my life. I have been conscious of the need to tend the ground and give those words space to grow deep and tall and strong. Not to crowd them out with other weeds, shrubs and trees that aren’t from God.
Then Tuesday came! It was one of those conversations that are necessary but not of the easy kind. If you are someone who needs everyone to like you and feel good about you, it was a conversation you’d avoid! Suffice to say that out of brokenness and pain many things were said and accusations made that were neither life giving or resonating with what God seemed to be saying and doing. As I journaled later that day I saw the stark contrast between the words that God implants into our lives and the words that come from the other place. I saw like never before the job to be done in each of these contrasting situations; when it’s God’s word we are to actively welcome, humbly receive his word, tend to it and nurture his purposes in our lives. When its words from the other place, we are to actively expel and reject them; we are not to harbour them lest they take root, grow strong, bear fruit and suffocate the word implanted by God.
How easy it is though, to harbour and even savour words of accusation and hopelessness! How easy it is to forget or passively acknowledge and no more, words of life and hope that are the embodiment of the purposes of God for you from before the creation of the world! I guess that’s our default and the enemy of our souls is OK with that…
So today my encouragement to us is to actively recall and welcome those words that God has implanted into our lives, and to actively expel those words that come from the other place. Like diligent gardeners let’s tend God’s implanted word and expect the fulfilment of his purposes in all their fullness.