Ugliness

We all know the inner life is much more crucial to maintain than the outer life.  We get Jesus when he beat down the pharisees and called them “whitewashed tombs”.  I wonder what words we would use today to call them out.  Or maybe we’d be the ones being called out.  I guess that’s a question for us to answer in our quiet places.  It makes sense to us that what flows from our inner life extends to our outer life.  It’s probably one of the hardest battles we’ll fight on planet earth.  The battle for the inner life.

I’ve written and said before that I stand in line with Paul as the chief of sinners.  My inner life can get really ugly.  Sin sometimes engulfs and overtakes me.  Temptation crowds my thoughts.  Selfishness is my default state.  I’m ugly on the inside.  And that sometimes translates to being ugly on the outside too.

I haven’t been writing much for a few reasons:  business and ugliness.  Not that I’m not authentic or not wanting to write about any valley.  Not true.  But simply when you are busy and in the valley, there’s not much motivation to document it.  I will.  I think much of my writing here is based on emotion.  I’m okay with that.  Why am I writing now?  Love is overtaking me again.

Intimacy

It’s funny how I’m reminded that God created us to live in community.  How he didn’t create us to be alone.  How He models intimacy and affords us intimacy between each other.  I love that.  I’ve never hidden behind the fact that I think I may have married the greatest person created on planet earth.  I lucked out on this deal.  It’s funny how when our intimacy level is high, my intimacy level with others and with God are enhanced.  Same is true with Grace.  When I’m connected to the two people I love the most, I’m connected to the Holy Spirit in a deeper level.  Whether it is emotional, spiritual, or physical, all of these “touches” connect us in a deeper level to our souls.

This intimacy is and has brought me back to reminders of how the Holy Spirit desires me.  It only makes sense that as the Holy Spirit lives through others, He leaks out of them and into me.  When I experience Biblical intimacy, I experience God.  Is this making sense?

The Likeness of Jesus

The past few days have been darker ones on the inside.  Our default.  And sometimes I feel like I’m never going to get it right.  Too many battles lost.  Intimacy reminds me of intimacy.  Intimacy brings me back into greater intimacy with the Creator of intimacy.  Getting it?  This morning I was awakened with joy.  Those of you who know me best understand that does not come naturally.  That joy translated into riding into town and buying bagels for my coworkers and enjoying some worship.  As I was listening to “The Likeness of Jesus” by Jonathan David Helser [Listen], a line from the song seized my soul:

Only You can do this
You make men out of dust
You make beauty out of ashes
You make beautiful paintings out of my failure and weakness
Only You can make me like You

Here is the official song without the spontaneous prayer/worship above:

I want the cry of Moses
I want the ears of samuel
I want the heart of mary
Most of all
I want the likeness of Jesus

I want the prayers of Daniel
I want the voice of John
I want the walk of Enoch
Most of all
I want the likeness of Jesus

From glory to glory,
I am transformed,
Nothing between us,
The veil has been torn

I want to be holy as he is holy
I want to be righteous as
He is righteous
I want to be loving as
He is loving
Most of all i want to
Be like Jesus

As my heart was embracing the idea that part of God’s DNA is “making something beautiful from my failures and weaknesses”, I was overcome with emotion.  I was reminded that what the body of Christ should look like is a group of people who are weak failures and celebrate that Abba makes something beautiful out of the mess of our lives.  I was simply reminded in my soul that He loves me.  He loves me.  He loves me.  Over and over.  “I love you, Jason.  I just love you.”  Simple.  But true.  His love is real.  It doesn’t change.  And it’s overwhelming.  He touches me through others.  He also just touches me.  He can.  He’s God.  And I’m so glad He loves me as I am.  He makes beauty from the ashes of my sin.  This is the message of the Gospel.

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