Every now and again one word seems to permeate almost everything I am considering, praying about, thinking about, and dealing with. I consider it to be a theme word and have come to see it as a prompt and leading of the Spirit to move me into new territories of thinking and practice. The other day I was reminded of this when the person I met for coffee started to tell me how the word obedience had been a constant theme and recurring consideration in recent months. We shared about this for a while and I found myself intrigued by the fact that two people from other sides of the world were moved in such a similar way by a single word and its invitation to new insights and depths.
Of course the thing with invitations is not only whether or not one accepts the invite but then more crucially whether one actually participates in the things we are invited to. Romans 8:14 (Message) says;
God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
It is a fact to those with ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’ that the Spirit is indeed beckoning us all further on the road of discipleship all of the time. Sadly, or perhaps by design we are tested with competing summonses which can drown out the call of God in favour of more immediate demands in the ‘here and now’. It can be hard to train ourselves to see and hear that ‘still small voice’, however God is not absent and is ever living and present in and with his creation. Still, many believers live with a detached, remote, and often absent Father.
My word of recent months has been integration. Seemingly random, not all that ordinary, a bit poncy for some no doubt but it is proving very useful indeed. A very good word for me during this season. The Bible is full of ideas which require integration or else they cannot make sense – first/last, weak/strong, dark/light, unclean/clean, etc. Life is full of things requiring integration too. 500 words or so can never be enough to do justice to these things however it is sufficient to say that unless one leans-in so as not to miss the invitations then one can never truly integrate the aspects of our characters, our pasts, our prejudices, our failures, our victories, and our calling in order to become the people we are called to be. We cannot benefit from the event if missed the invitation in the first place! More importantly; the world does not benefit from your potential if we fail to attend to the invitations, or miss them completely! Thankfully the invitations to participation in the work of the Kingdom never cease. Nor does the discipleship task of integration. How are you being invited today?
The remainder of that passage from Romans 8:
15 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” 16 God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. 17 And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us – an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!