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During my lunch break I read another chapter of my book, “The Me I Want to Be” by John Ortberg.  It’s so good!  You need to read it.  Everyone should read it.  Seriously.  Go get it right now.  The author’s conversational style and humor make it actually fun to read.  I am learning so much and gaining such encouragement. I might actually finish this one!

Here are a few tidbits that struck me today from chapter 3:

  • My main job in life is to remain connected to God.  When I focus on that, things seem to fall into place.  When I lose that focus, I stop thriving and can’t fully be the me God made me to be.
  • How do I bridge the gap between the “me” God made to me be and the one I really am right now?  I can’t – and that’s a very important point.  “Self-improvement” is a misnomer as we actually can’t really improve ourselves anymore than we can save ourselves.  God wants to energize me, nurture, guide and enliven me with His grace and that’s something that can only be given by Him – through His Holy Spirit.
  • If only I can learn to live from one moment to the next in the flow of God’s Spirit – not by working harder at it or following rules.  That’s a big “if” that I want to learn really badly!
  • The flow of the Holy Spirit is what makes us alive – like a river in the middle of a desert.  Without the flow of the life-giving river the desert is dry and dead.
  • If I want life, I want God.
  • God’s Spirit doesn’t just flow in us, but through us to help others thrive as well.  Like John says, it’s a “so that” arrangement.  God flows through us so that we can bless others…
  • We don’t have to convince God’s Spirit to work in our lives, He is already at work.  We just have to stay out-of-the-way and not stop the flow, or “quench the Spirit.”  I need to keep my heart open to His influence in my life and not close myself off from Him – i.e. by choosing to not listen to Him, choosing to not follow a prompting from Him, etc.
  • Obedience to God helps me to stand right in the middle of the life-giving flow of His Spirit and grace.
  • When I mess up or cause a momentary block by disobedience, God allows U-turns and recalculates my route.  He does it without saying, “I told you so.”
  • If God’s Spirit is flowing freely in my life, fruit will grow and be evident to people around me:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  If these aren’t growing or if some sour fruit is showing, that might be an indicator that I’m not open to the flow, stunting my own growth.

I have to put in this little illustration that made me laugh,

“A woman sees a father shopping with a fussy two-year-old in his grocery cart.  ‘Be patient, Billy’, he whispers.  ‘You can handle this, Billy.  It’s okay, Billy.’

The woman said to him, ‘I don’t mean to interrupt your shopping, but I just had to tell you how wonderfully loving and patient you are with little Billy.’

The man replied, ‘Actually, my son’s name is Patrick.  MY name is Billy.'”1

Lord, help me jump into the river of your grace and wade up to my chin in the flow of your Holy Spirit.  Don’t let me obstruct Your influence on my heart.  Help me to focus on staying there, staying connected to You.  I’m trusting You to grow good fruit from my life.

1 The Me I Want to Be, by John Ortberg, copyright 2010.   Chapter 3, page 42