24/10/2018: Shades of Shadow Living | Richard Ashton
Parker Palmer: Author, Teacher, Educator, Spirituality/Social change agent – EQ and Spirituality balance
When Parker Palmer talks about the journey of the soul, he remarks,
“Everything in us cries out against it—which is why we externalize everything. It is so much easier to deal with the external world, to spend our lives manipulating situation and institutions and other people instead of dealing with our own soul.”
By the way, that’s a great recipe for the making of a Pharisee.
“Often my ambition, which I saw as strength, was not motivated by God’s glory but by an unhealthy need to be perceived as a success. Over time I learned how to cloak my selfish ambition in kingdom language. It became easy to wrap my unhealthy ambition in God talk and sanctify it. This ultimately led to some very unhealthy behaviour and thinking: posturing in conversations, name-dropping, and number-fudging, obsessing over leadership and growth, and ultimately a utilitarian/pragmatic/functional view of people”.
2 Corinthians 7:1, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
It is not just your body that is in danger of being poisoned. Paul says that your spirit (inner life) can become contaminated.
We all have these strong qualities and gifting, and we need to identify them operate in them and applaud them. For example:
- having a good work ethic,
- striving for excellence,
- being attentive to detail,
- being extremely organised,
- being a good people person.
Let me explain the spiritual implications of few important gifts and shadows.
Strong Work Ethic – very productive, leading to driven workaholic
Striving For Excellence – “it is quicker if I just do it myself”.
Attentive to Detail – the shadow side to this gift is being someone who is very critical and easily criticizes.
Too Organised – the shadow side to this gift could result in you being a “control freak” or even having OCD. You may battle to be “in the moment” and enjoy the journey instead of only seeing the end goal.
A Peoples Person – one who gets along with everyone?
Pray-fully reflecting on what God wants you to do, in every situation will help you to develop a healthy, balanced soul (EQ), which is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and to others.
Andrew Womack said; “it’s not a performance thing, it’s a heart thing”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 / Matthew 7:21-23 / Matthew 7:3-5 / Matthew 6:1-2
James 1:26 / Isaiah 29:13 / Romans 12:2
Beth Moore Tweets (Psalms of Ascent)
- “Run for your life from this thread this morning. Here’s what the Lord is bringing to light in my dark heart. What we resent most about our hardest relationships is what they bring out in us. In easier ones our pleasant self-deceptions of being wonderful blameless people flourish”
- “Whether they live down the hall, the street or across the globe, by nature our favourite neighbours to love are those who bring out our favourite things we love about us. Instead of loving our neighbours as ourselves, we’re prone to love the neighbours who make us love ourselves”
- “If God has placed us in relationships that bring out the worst in us, it’s because indeed HE WANTS TO BRING OUT THE WORST IN US – permanently out, plucked up by the bloody roots. It’s because He is faithful to us, unstoppably devoted to finishing the good work He started in us”
- “We want others to change so we don’t have to. The more resistant we are to our own personal transformation, the further we’ll withdraw from God & the very people He wants to use to make us more like Christ”
- “God, help us. Relationships are HARD.
- One last think – don’t think we can’t withdraw from God whilst still strutting our Christian Stuff, talking all our Christian talk (Christianese), and working all our Christian acts.
- We can still read the scriptures/ say our prayers, mouths close to God, but hearts 100 country miles away, cold as ice.
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.
5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8 “Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”