We’ve just entered the Lenten session preceded by Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. One of the best known songs associated with New Orleans and Mardi Gras celebrations is “When the Saints Go Marching In“.
Those who believe are often referred to as “saints”. Paul and other post-resurrection Biblical authors refer to those who came to believe as the “saints of God”. The idea of saints has a long history and is viewed differently depending on the Christian religious tradition one adheres to. That’s not my reference here.
Over the past week, I’ve encountered some of my spiritual ‘pet peeves’. While they don’t relate specifically to “saints”; they can have the effect of holding us back from wearing the label comfortably. Let’s take them in order. . .
Friday’s Connersville New-Examiner carried a story about a historical church building reopening to serve folks in town. The new pastor returned to his home roots and is leading a growing congregation. In the article, he is quoted as saying he wants everyone to “go to heaven“. My blood pressure rose!
So do I. But realistically and spiritually we know that’s not going to happen. And certainly not by PAPA’s choice. But that isn’t what rattled my cage.
The purpose of coming to a personal relationship with the Lord of Life is not just to go to heaven when we die. There’s life to be lived between the moment we are transformed by Jesus death and resurrection and our last earthly breath – at least for most of us.
What are we to do with that life? Are we simply to tread water until death comes? Or does PAPA have a greater purpose in mind than just adding our names to the Book of Life so we can romp about high and highly places once our spirit departs the flesh!
His ultimate purpose is to grow us up in the Lord. To come into “full stature”. To mature to the point where we have the mind of the Lord and see all of life and its events from PAPA’s perspective. To be more of Jesus and less of me as we pursue the purpose for which we were born.
In other words, we are to grow up again. To use the theological phrase – when we are ‘born again’ in (and by) the Spirit, we become a spiritual infant. We have to go from infant to toddler to kindergartner to young adult – so forth and so on – spiritually. We must permit PAPA to take over the reins of our lives, direct the show and learn of and from Him. He will use others along the way who will mentor, coach and teach us; but the provost in charge is Heavenly DAD!
Let me tell you from personal experience, that’s no easy task. Our human ego is so control-driven that to give over to someone we can’t see, taste, touch, smell and feel seems nearly impossible! We struggle to do so with folks on earth – let alone an otherworldly Person. Yet that’s what He asks us to do.
Bottom line! PAPA created us for a purpose – His purpose. He put into our DNA what we need to do so. And what we lack, He’ll fill in and fill up. We’ll need to mature not only spiritually, but emotionally and psychologically as well.
And we’ll have to give up control over ourselves so that He can transform our minds and give us the grand privilege of thinking as His Son thinks and seeing life from His position on high! And we’ll have to agree to pursue our purpose with all the passion, fervor and determination we can humanly muster. If we don’t – we miss the mark. Not in the matter of sin; but in fulfilling the reason for our birth. Physical birth and spiritual birth.
Well, one pet peeve down and one to go!
The image here says it all! “God Never Told Us to Memorize Scripture. He Taught Us to Become It“. How many of us know folks who can spout Scripture verses at the drop of a hat; tell us where it’s located and then smile broadly with pride at their accomplishment? I do and I’m fond of responding with, “Great – now tell me what it means?“
The reading of PAPA’s written word is certainly required of believers. We have to know what the book says, but we must first know its Author. Anyone can memorize Scripture. Satan knows Scripture and knows it very well. How else could he deceive so many folks over the years with that taunting question – “Did God really say that?”
We are called to learn the written word, then come to know the Voice of its Author so that we recognize the Rhema word – or God speaking to us here and now! That word will line up with Scripture, but it probably won’t be in King James English. Not even the new KJV! It will be in a way and vernacular that each of us understands because it’s spoken specifically to us as individual believers.
PAPA asks us to become the Gospel. To grow into it. To learn of Him from the written word, then tuck that under our armpit (near our hearts) and learn from Him in his fresh word each day. We don’t have to commit it to memory; but we do have to let it become us so that we become the woman He desires us to be.
Nothing rattles my cage quicker than for someone to experience a horrific life event and others do nothing but quote Scripture because they don’t how to respond otherwise. PAPA wants us to be the Scripture so we respond with words and ways that impacts others for peace, joy and solace when anything else is so much trivial lip-drippings.
There you have them. Two of my spiritual pet peeves that cause me to rise on my haunches. You may not agree, but I know of what I write from years of walking with and learning from Him.
If you take nothing else away from this post, take the fact that PAPA asks us to grow up. Grow up and become. Grow up and become the woman He designed and destined us to be. When you do; you will be well on your way to living the life He planned and will take you through.
Through until your last breath fades and you find yourself in the bosom of a loving PAPA who says “Well done my good and faithful servant!”
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner & CEO
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-1/p160x160/10933880_10152999878054264_1749306739390848122_n.jpg?oh=3b9b3e144f0b306aa0cc748b03d9dd6a&oe=55550352&__gda__=1432002183_d9a5e0b3a35fc3cfbbe66ed7bc7658c9[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]