Confession – One of my favorite shows is Ice road Truckers.
The truck was quarantined and one serious looking cleanup crew went to work stripping the truck and cleaning every little corner. Every dark corner.
If Rick had kept his truck clean he wouldn’t have a problem. Now both truck and driver were crippled.
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of thy love.
Dimitrii of Rostov
All those little corners where the mice could live and breed.
All unknown to Rick, blithely breathing in illness.
Have you investigated your dark corners?
Probably not. Who wants to dig around in the dark. Who likes cleaning in the internal workings of the soul.
Yet we all have dark corners, things we choose not to want to look at. Jesus, the surgeon of the Soul says this
“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” Luke 11:34-36
Jesus calls us to a examination. An invitation to holiness.
We don’t hear much about holiness, a call to being virtuous.
Renovaré is an organization that was founded by Richard Foster who defined 6 streams of Christian Spirituality.
- Prayer Filled Life
- Virtuous Life
- Spirit-empowered Life
- Compassionate Life
- Word-centered Life
- Sacramental Life
The Virtuous Life is described in this way
The Holiness Tradition emphasizes the re-formation of our hearts so that we are able to respond appropriately to the challenges of life. The word “holiness” has some negative connotations today, but the original Greek meaning of the word virtue is simply “to function well.”
Virtuous Life is not about rules or judgement, perfectionism, or some kind of merit gained by good deeds. It encourages us to the ultimate goal: not to “get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us.”
It is attentiveness to the source of our actions, to the condition and motives of the heart, and taking on new patterns of life that flow naturally from within.
“We see Jesus consistently doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. We see in him such deeply ingrained “holy habits” that he is always “response-able,” always able to respond appropriately. This is purity of heart. This is the virtuous life.” Richard J. Foster, Streams of Living Water
I wonder what is hiding in the truck cab of your life. Filth that the Holy Spirit wants to purify and clean out of you for both your sake and the sake of your relationships.
Where do we start?
1. Understand this is not a journey of condemnation
This is a journey of hope and change. This is a journey where the Good Shepherd takes care of his sheep with gentleness and not condemnation. So often we may have been fed messages of try harder and you’re not good enough.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
2. Embrace that this is a lifetime journey. True deep change doesn’t happen over night. Sanctification happens slowly and is deliberately led by the Holy Spirit. Yes the patient Holy Spirit is at work in you to change you. Gently coaxing and inviting, alluring you to purity.
3. Find someone safe you can journey with. This maybe the most difficult part of the journey. Someone who will not condemn or offer quick advice. Someone who will instead invite you to life of prayer. Perhaps a Spiritual Director, a Pastor or a friend. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.
Some quotes to consider
- Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin L King Jr
- The men and women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their own imperfect existence. Brennan Manning
- So long as we imagine that it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about; He is looking for us. And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from him, in high rebellion against him. And He knows that and has taken it into account. He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape him, we run straight into his arms. So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us the hope of salvation. Our hope is in his determination to save us, and he will not give in. Simon Tugwell
Questions to consider and leave a comment
- What feelings rise up when you consider looking into the ‘Dark Corners’ of your life?
- What is like to know that God ‘is looking for us’?
- What are the qualities of a ‘safe’ person for you?