August 17, 2012
There were many things that I discovered about myself, mission, community, ministry, and spirituality today, and though I won’t be able to speak in great detail about each, I will share them each in brief since this is just a reflection (and hopefully be able to go into depth later on them). I won’t have time to discuss spirituality portion yet, but hope to be able to do that next week, after Pastor Leo finishes up. (he was sick the second day of training this week)
The first thing that jumped out to me in today’s training was the nature of true repentance. We talk often of repentance in the church, and our need to confess our sins and turn from our wicked ways. And often times this results in change of lifestyle, morals, and identity. Yet, I feel this happens less than it should; and is taught about less than it should be. True repentance, of the 7 Deadly Sins in particular (pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, sloth) should be dealt with not only through a personal repentance of ones heart (though that is where it starts), but also with ones pocket books, habits, lifestyles, convictions, relationships, etc. If there is no turning from one’s ways, or cutting off those things that continue to lead one into sin, then there is no true repentance.
The second insight today was really the Spirit of the Lord at work, showing me my weakness as a man and yet encouraging me through His Scriptures. As we discussed the 5 Models of Manhood in the Bible (King, Priest, Warrior, Lover, Magician), and their shadow counterparts, I was reminded of my weakness in both the Priest and Lover categories. As for priests, the shadow priest is often ‘occupied with his own affairs and vices’ which sadly describes me more times than not. Though I was able to get beyond this many times during my last 24/7 season of prayer in June/July where I was praying 1-2 hours a day at our church, the plague of always thinking about and praying for myself continues to haunt me. The second weakness that was revealed to me was how often I feel like I am a shadow lover. Though I really desire to know how to love people well, I feel more times than not that I am insincere and not authentic in my love towards others. And part of this I feel is my previous failures of being able to love past girlfriends for who they are, beyond my simple attraction to them.
The beauty in the day was that immediately after learning about these 5 Models of Manhood in the Bible, and a section of teaching on women, we looked at 5 Theological Statements about Christians, and were told to memorize one, then speaking it into the life of another person in the class. The statement I memorized was “You are God’s child, and He loves you with all His heart,” and the statement my partner memorized was “God will take care of you. You have nothing to fear.” Both of these spoke to my weakness in the previous section on manhood. The first, of God’s love for me, and his modeling what love looks like, speaks to my weakness as a shadow lover. The second, that God will take care of me, speaks to my weakness as a shadow Priest. Both of these statements, when made true in my life, can continue to build me into a man of God and after His own heart.