Tuesday August 11, 2009

I think pretty much all of us need to hear this. Probably frequently. They are wonderful words. May each of us prayerfully, joyfully apply them.

“Spilling Grace”

When someone pokes you, what comes out? What happens when someone questions some conviction or practice you hold dear? It could be anything from your faith in Christ down to your conviction that socks should be folded, not rolled. What if someone expresses a contrary opinion? What if someone expresses a strong contrary opinion? How do you respond? When someone pokes you, what comes out? How do you handle it when someone in church disagrees with your health care convictions? What comes out? What comes out when someone says they think homeschoolers are lazy? Or what comes out when someone says that people who have their babies in the hospital are stupid? Or what about having babies at home? What comes out when you get poked?

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was that they would know the love of Christ which passes understanding, and that they would be filled with all the fullness of God. Later, he urges them to be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in their hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God… Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in other words was that when the Ephesians got poked, they would spill the fullness of God. And notice that Paul ties this directly to knowing the love of Christ. Do you know the love of Christ like that? Do you know the love of Christ such that when you get poked, you pour out the fruits of the Spirit and thankfulness and submission in the fear of God. Or do you spill crankiness, prickliness, and defensiveness? And if when you are poked you don’t spill the fruits of the Spirit, and you are cranky and defensive, you need to consider why. Why do you get defensive when someone suggests that your cigarette habit is kind of stupid? Or your clothing is offensive or your childrearing is defective or your roommate says you are totally unhip?

If you aren’t spilling grace then you need to reconsider what you’re holding on to or how you’re holding on to it. If it isn’t grace that you’re holding on to, then grace isn’t going to come pouring out. And if it is grace, but you’re holding it like a thug, then you can’t be surprised when something thuggish emerges. Be filled with the Spirit, and know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. You know that you’re filled with grace when someone pokes you and you spill grace. You know you’re filled with the Spirit when someone pokes you and you start singing psalms and inviting them over for dinner.

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