Thursday, July 27, 2017

Are You Living in a Gated Community?


Spend even just a few hours in Savannah and you will see a plethora of iron. It covers windows, hides gardens, graces stair cases and covers windows. What intrigued me the most were the garden gates. They hide some of the most beautiful gardens, spaces anyone would want to enter and stay for a while.

Looking in on these lush, plentiful landscapes made me long to hear the stories, if only the landscapes could speak. Garden parties, weddings and afternoon teas would be the joyful and celebratory stories they might tell, but there might have also been funerals, buried pets or broken hearts.

What do we as believers, children of God keep behind the imaginary gates of our heart? We hide the things we think make us feel unworthy, things we think will make people reject us if they saw, or the pain of years past that would bring up hurtful and unwanted memories but we forget those are the very reasons Jesus came.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,...Luke 4:18
Sometimes in church circles we have unspoken rules, what constitutes good verses bad behavior or acceptable verses unacceptable. The problem is we take each other's word for it or worse, listen to our own distorted thoughts on any given matter. No where in scripture do I find that we are good or acceptable based on anything we bring to the table. We are nothing without Him. Even Jesus said, "Why do you call me good? No one is good--except God alone." Mark 10:18 We must seek Him for truth.

Bad decisions, ungodly behavior and relational dysfunction are present in everyone's life. Some of us are just better at hiding it then others. Sometimes if we muster up enough courage we will share a story, be vulnerable and allow others to see that the image we portray may only be a part of our story, maybe even a fictional one. If those we are sharing with are themselves in an intimate relationship with Christ and maybe a little more mature than us, they will listen, encourage or maybe even pray. But, sometimes we share with those who are not in a good place themselves or struggling in a similar area and it will backfire - they will reject us. It happens! Honestly, it happens to everyone, it's just something we don't talk about often or ever for some people. In order to experience the freedom Jesus came to give us, we must start getting real with others and risk rejection for the possibility of relationship. The gates, walls and other self erected barricades will only keep us from the relationships we desire and those the Lord has ordained for us.

There may be things in our past that were done to us or happened due to no fault of our own. Those also tend to encourage us to keep our heart locked tight. We are afraid people will only look at us and see what we did or what happened to us, so we just keep quiet. Don't be like those beautiful gardens, in plain sight but unttainable behind iron gates.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16

If we subscribe to any of these ways to keep ourselves safe we miss out on the true gospel. The gospel of Jesus is good news, it brings life and life more abundantly. Take a moment, look behind the gate, are you finding things there no one knows about -  a habit, a fear or a failure? It could be anything, it doesn't take something horrific for the enemy to accuse us and scare us into hiding. My encouragement to you is -- unlock the gate, invite someone in, starting with Jesus and enjoy the lush landscapes the Lord has provided for you.

He brought me out into a spacious place;

he rescued me because he delighted in me
Psalm 18:19

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