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  • Writer's pictureDeborah

Love and Flourish

Series: Renewal

Romans 12:2 ESV

Romans 3:23 (All have sinned)

I grew up during turbulent times.

I remember Vietnam.

Even though I wasn’t military, I knew it was a turbulent time; I knew there were definite “sides”.

Nonconformity was the norm. There were riots in the streets. I’m not talking just in New York or San Francisco…I’m talking nationwide. There were riots on the streets of Kansas City where I lived at the time.

Fast forward 50+ years.

While some might disagree, in comparison the rule of thumb today is to conform. Politically we still have “sides” but the societal norm is that you choose a side and you conform to what they believe (at least in theory).

Today, conforming to a belief system is the norm.

Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In light of today’s standard, either way we conform to this world. In 1968 the norm was to protest. In 2020 the norm is not to protest. However, scripture tells us do not conform to the world. So, whether the world proposes conformity or the world proposes nonconformity we are told by scripture not to conform.

My question is…how did the Apostle Paul know more than 2000 years ago not conforming to this world would be a necessity for “the people of the Way”?

We might easily come to the conclusion that humanity really doesn’t change a lot from century to century. In hindsight we could make a case for that based on our history.

I propose we look instead to God and what the world would look like if we allowed God to create all things new today.

We are certainly not ignoring scripture by using a God lens when we read it. We are also not making light of man’s ability to attain perfection. Scripture is clear on that…“all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). Surrendering our inability to ‘do right’ all the time is a necessity. We are not God and we are not able.

So, what if we look to God and wait?

In doing so, are we not simply putting God in the driver’s seat?

Years ago when I attended listening prayer classes that’s exactly what we were practicing. We studied scripture and we practiced setting ourselves right with God but we added the practice of “getting out the fast lane” so we could spend time in solitude alone with God.

When we started practicing solitude and listening we were opening the door to new possibilities.

It became apparent that “we” were not in charge. That set the stage for us to be renewed and transformed.

When I first started doing spiritual practices I was told it’s not about perfection, it’s called a practice for a reason…it’s practice.

At that time I was seeing a Spiritual Director regularly. He reminded me to sit with God and focus on God. He also told me sitting in silence of God does take practice.

About that time someone told me about the Desert Fathers who left their homes and went to live in the desert in Egypt in 270-271 A.D. Eventually the community grew to thousands of members.

The Desert Fathers practiced sitting in silence with God, fasting, and prayer. The desert fathers were known for practicing a deep inner stillness that leads to peace with God that became known as hesychia.

Reading about the Desert Fathers when I first started practicing the silence fascinated me.

Today, I still practice silence.

Even if it’s only for a short period of time, it’s time we’ll-spent.

Especially when I feel anxious about things I need to get done, after I sit in silence I am able to relax.

I am reminded God loves me and I am able to express my love to God in return.

Sitting in silence helps me to let go of the cares of this world.

I experience great peace when I sit in silence. It’s a time to let God’s love flourish and flow through you.

Spiritual Practice: Practice Silence

Sit with God. Do not ask for anything…simply focus on loving God.

In God, Deborah


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