November 21, 2009 10:30am
As I was reading my Bible this morning, I came across a particular verse that I have been using to try to explain to some people the essence of what I’m trying to accomplish on this sabbatical. I could not remember the verse exactly, or where it came from, but I knew the gist of it and what it meant to me. To find it in my reading this morning was an absolute delight, as now I can point to it specifically and use it to better explain what I’m after here.
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45
In the Amplified Bible, the verse ends such: “…for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.”
While this is certainly isn’t the only reason I have decided to take a leave of absence from the majority of outside influences in my life, it is definitely one of the most important to me. One of the main themes running through all my reasons has to do with my reactions and how they affect not only me, but more importantly how they affect the people in my life. So for me to take some time to work on myself and the relationships with God and the people in my life, my reactions play a heavy role in the work that I’m trying to do. I don’t want to react in anger all the time. Lashing out is no longer an acceptable way of life for me. So a big part of what I’m doing during the course of this sabbatical involves a lot of time reading my Bible and studies/devotions about God and His Word. It’s not the only focus, as I have also been reading about relationships as well.
I’m trying to refocus not only my mind, but more importantly, my heart. I want to spend this time focus on “good” things, to redirect my heart and thoughts towards them in the hope that eventually they reflect the good. I need to fill myself with what is good, or right, or holy or whatever you want to call it. This isn’t necessarily about me becoming “holier” or anything. This about me becoming a better, stronger and healthier person in spirit, mind and body. Drawing closer to God is the means for me to effect change in my life. I want to reflect His principles and teachings; to be filled with His Spirit and therefore, bear it’s fruit.
Some may shy away from me when I tell them all of this, and I can understand why. We’ve all met people in our lives that “found” God or “got religion”. It can be a painful and trying experience for those around them. I would put more responsibility on those who lead and teach them, but I don’t really want to get into that. What I want to say is, though I know I’ll miss the mark as I so often do, if I keep myself centered on Christ and His teachings, then no one would have cause to be afraid. His teaching was so love-centric and anti-judgment that, I feel, if I am truly conveying a Christ-like spirit and mindset, there will be no condemnation or judgment to make the people in my life uncomfortable.
Yet I have to say, as harsh as it may sound, I can’t let the possibility of those I care about distancing themselves affect me to the point of neglecting what I need to do.
So my fervent prayer this morning is for God to fill my heart to overflowing with goodness, that my words will reflect that which is within me. Love, compassion, grace; these are the things I want to project and reflect. Not anger, hate and enmity.