Central to our spiritual lives

“He defended the cause of the afflicted and needy;
Then all was well.
Is that not what it means to know Me?”
Says the Lord. – Jeremiah 22:16

I think that this is a great tool for evaluating my relationship with God. I can easily (and misleadingly) measure it through church attendance, Bible study, spiritual disciplines, and other means. But if the poor and the needy are not regularly on my radar, than there is some space between God and me, between his heart and what matters to Him, and my heart. That’s a measure that is hard to fudge. – Craig Mayes

We can live a lie or live a life of contradiction. For example there are those who could be described as “generous gossips.” These people may give and serve…but they also maliciously slander others. Likewise we can be “compassionate compromisers.” These are those who care about others, but are not living in wholehearted devotion to God. They have sin in their life that they have accepted or are tolerating or have justified. Again, that’s a contradiction. There are also “serving swearers.” These are people who think that it’s ok to be using crude language, telling filthy jokes, using inappropriate language etc…that it is somehow justified or “acceptable.” But again this is a contradiction. These things reveal a lack of the fear of the Lord/spiritual immaturity when or if our lives are characterized by these realities. For some they simply need to see their need for “sanctification” (holy living…the process of becoming more like Jesus in character). Others are simply living in hypocrisy and living a lie. – Ben Foley

It’s so easy from our perspective to look back at sacred history and see all the faults and shortcomings and spiritual deficiencies of God’s people of antiquity. And we should, because we’ve been told that these stories were written as examples for us. The sad thing is, many of these people at the time, in their own context and culture, thought that they were doing the right thing, that they were just fine with the Lord. What warning should that give us about just how blind we can be to our true spiritual state? What are ways we can come to grips with our true spiritual condition? Why must we keep the Cross central to that process? What would happen to us if we didn’t keep it central to our spiritual lives?

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah),
Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy), – Luke 4:18

We have to face the problem of inequality, but how do we do it as the Church?  Many churches choose to focus solely on matters of the spirit, leaving social and moral issues (education, trafficking, poverty, hunger, etc.) to governments, business, NGOs and interest groups, to be handled in our professional lives and not in our spiritual lives or church community.  There are things about the world that should not be—we are responsible for being a part of God’s work of restoration and change, to engage in the work of justice.  As Partners International declares their mission – reconciliation, restoration, redemption.

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