Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life is in the Blood - CIRCULATION

Life is in the Blood - Edy Sutherland

For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is in the blood that makes atonement for life.
- Leviticus 17:11

The average heart pumps over a gallon of blood to all parts of your body every minute. Scientists know a lot about blood. I often wonder what the average person knows. Curiously, I ask myself, “If most people knew the condition of their blood, would they continue to make the choices they do?” Why do I make the choices I do?

Blood in vertebrate animals delivers necessary substances and removes harmful waste from every living cell by means of the circulatory system – the heart, the lungs, the veins and arteries.   

As a “part-time” runner, I understand the consequences when my blood is not “healthy.” I experience fatigue, shortness of breath, or muscle cramping.

But, if you’re unfamiliar with blood or running for that matter you may not know why you feel bad or sick or tired in your everyday life because of unhealthy blood. For me, the condition of my blood is the major determining factor whether the operation of my body (running or not) goes smoothly or is wrought with discomfort.  

I experience the effects of dehydration, salt and sugar imbalance, immune cell operation, or too much fat and cholesterol. The cause of most blood deficiencies does not originate from outside influences but from my own choices.

The same is true of my spiritual life. I understand the consequences my choices, apart from God, have on my heart, mind, soul, and strength. When I see the world through my eyes, my strength, and my ambition, my “blood” is filled with toxins that cause me to live with “fatigue, shortness of breath, or muscle cramping.” In everyday life, this might look like self-centeredness, gossip, slander, envy, greed, lust.

Most people know they have blood circulating throughout their bodies but do not understand how the blood delivers life sustaining oxygen, nutrients, and minerals to the brain, the organs, the muscles, and every tiny living cell. And in America, most people have heard of Jesus but do not understand the everyday life of a disciple. I would go as far as to say some who even claim to be Christians.

As I run, I see the parallel between the blood, the circulatory system, and the life of a disciple of Jesus. A disciple lives in a closed system requiring a continual recirculation and renewing of the mind.

Follow the FLOW

  1. We come humbly before the cross tired, broken, lost (the blood is depleted of oxygen). Jesus’ saves us with His blood.
  2. We love God because He first loved us (blood enters the heart).
  3. The Spirit of God indwells us (the heart pumps the blood out to the lungs): illuminating, teaching, directing, warning, guiding, assuring, inspiring, and interceding.
  4. By the Spirit’s directing (the lungs oxygenate the blood) we exercise the disciplines of reading scripture, prayer, worship, community, and obedience.
  5. The outcome of the disciplines (the blood exits the lungs and goes back to the heart where the heart pumps the blood out to the body) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.
  6. The overflow of the disciplines is to GO out (to the brain, organs, and extremities of the body) and love the world through service and sharing the love of Christ.
  7. As we fall short in attaining all that God has for us to be (collect waste and toxins in the blood), we practice the cleansing power of the cross through forgiveness and reconciliation.
  8. We continue the journey of growing in the knowledge of grace through the transformation and renewing of our mind (new blood cells are made in the bone marrow).
  9. REPEAT - over and over again.

Is your “blood” unhealthy because of a sedentary/distracted lifestyle, preconceived notions, or blockage of the “transport system?” Consider one of these restrictions that keep you from knowing Jesus personally. Do any resonate with you?

q Your heart is hardened to guilt. A hazy veil shrouds your awareness of sin.
q You are paralyzed by arrogance. Bending down in humility and repentance is not an option.
q You are not agreeable to being shattered and rebuilt in the likeness of Christ.
q You prefer to disregard the Day of Judgment and eternal damnation.
q Your mind has been veiled by counterfeit doctrine.
q You want to do things on your terms, in your timing, and with your understanding and not submit to God’s truth and His way.
q You are content with the current condition of your life and are not willing to deny yourself anything.

The circulatory system is a closed flow of blood. Jesus desires to reach to every “cell” of our body with His love and promises. He desires to reach the inmost places with His truth (Psalm 51:6). The new life of every creature is in the cleansing power of blood (Leviticus ) – Jesus’ blood shed for our sin (Isaiah 53:5).

Join me over the next five weeks as we look at the individual elements contained in the blood and how they give us life.