Monday, February 28, 2011

Trail Running - THE RAINFOREST

What “spiritual spiders” keep me and you from entering in to the tropical rainforests where God wants to speak to us a new thing?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
- Isaiah 43:19

Surfing brought me to the tropical rainforest. Otherwise, I would have only experienced it from photos or hearsay. Why you ask? Spiders flourish. The lush tropical floor swarms with large insects and small rodents for gargantuan spiders to consume. As a little girl growing up in Florida, I developed a phobia to spiders. I’m burdened with this phobia even today.

The friends I was traveling with insisted we take a day away from surfing to be tourists in the forest. I insisted I would hate every second of it and fear for my life the entire time. Yes, I observed the creepy critters securely attached to their webs adjacent to the trail we hiked on to the spectacular waterfall. The rainforest offers such exquisite beauty and life giving resources. If I had allowed my fear to overtake me, I would not have come to know this for myself. Once in the forest and my fear of the looming spiders waned, I chose to embrace the freedom and trail run the back to the parking lot.

Spiritually speaking God calls us in to the fertile rainforest to speak to us a new thing (Isaiah 43:19). But, we must remove the burdens of the past that prevent us from entering His abundance: the familiar blanket of fear, the jeweled crown of pride, the file cabinet of bitterness, the dark glasses of shame, even the nakedness of rejection and put on the new self (Ephesians 4:24). In the “spiritual rainforest” Jesus wants His rain of mercy to wash us clean from all our impurities (Ezekiel 36:25). He wants to give us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

But, if you are like me the familiarity to “spiritual spiders” often prevent me from entering the presence of God so that He can speak to me this new thing. Removing the comfortable yoke can feel like entering a place with extremely large venomous spiders.

·   We may only know one way to react to the hurtful scenarios of injustice and rejection.
·   We may perceive other reasonable responses to be unproductive and without adequate result.
·   We may have established over a long period of time a temperament (stronghold) of anger, fear, or passivity that is difficult to break free from.

I have found I need to be willing to humbly enter His presence with a posture of repentance and forgiveness so that I can be set free. I have to release the right to understand why the injustice or affliction happened. I choose to celebrate God’s goodness and His divine timing. When He calls you in to the forest where “spiritual spiders” lurk, go. I encourage you to go and be made new. Allow God to announce the new things to you and commit to take hold of them. It is there, you will become useful for Him.

Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

- Isaiah 32:2

Reflection and Study
Hero of the Bible Joseph, Genesis Chapters 37 - 50

Joseph was afflicted with intense rejection and injustice throughout His life: he was sold in to slavery by his brothers and he was falsely imprisoned. Joseph learned some valuable lessons in his journey to believe in God’s goodness and divine timing. We can glean wisdom and freedom from them:

  1. He repented to God for his reactionary behaviors to prevent them from becoming oppressive strongholds (spiritual spiders).
  2. He learned to forgive and even bless His oppressors.
  3. He released the right to understand why the injustice or affliction happened and instead, decide to believe in God’s goodness to work out all things for the good.
  4. He declared his release from the pain and asked God for deep healing from his suffering. He celebrated his “new self” becoming prosperous in any and all circumstances.

We too like Joseph can live in the freedom of God’s goodness by grabbing hold of His character and promises:

·   You are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:7
·   It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
·   But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. Ephesians 2:4-5

God wants to restore all of us right here, right now to His original design and our true identity. We do not have to wait for heaven. I celebrate my Godly character being rooted and established in ever increasing measure as I am delivered from oppressive strongholds. I pray you too hear God speak a new thing to you and find yourself being renewed.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (restoration) through our knowledge of Him (Jesus) who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world (behavioral strongholds) caused by evil desires (injustice and rejection).

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.

- 2 Peter 1:3-10

Do you have memories of experiencing God in different "climates and geography"? Trail Running is a six week blog series looking at different environments we see Jesus face-to-face.