Archive for August, 2019

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.

Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.

For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body.

Proverbs 4:20-22

Today there is a plethora of voices in our society all claiming to have the answer for personal health. Over the years I have listened to a variety of those voices (and in most cases ignored their advice) whether it was in school, over the internet, on TV or in a magazine. Being relatively healthy and naturally thin for so many years (often in spite of unhealthy life choices) I really did not have a focus on health, physically, mentally or spiritually. Health just seemed to me to be what was.

It was really not until 2013 and Allana’s battle with Leukemia that the importance of health came solidly in view. How clear the importance of something becomes when it is suddenly gone. As God walked with me the path of hupomone living, the idea of healthy living solidified. That path extends beyond 2013.  God was patient if not necessarily gentle as he brought me out of the desolation that I had made of my life by 2001.  As is often the case he inspired changes in lifestyle long before I understood the direction and truth of hupomone living.  I stopped using alcohol to backstop the weak areas in my life.  I quit smoking.  Allana brought stability to my relational life and I found myself engaged with mature Christian men and women.  God placed me in positions of ministry and opened opportunities for sharing the Gospel message.  The normal stressors of life (and some not so normal) began to be opportunities to grow and mature instead of being occasions of descent into selfish behaviors.

The first step to healthy living was to hear and listen to the voice of God in my life, the small still voice of God encouraging me to return to the path of health that he had for me. It is true that some have giant, radical life changes when they encounter God.  While these changes can be valid works of the Holy Spirit, we fool ourselves if we think they eliminate the need for the daily work that is involved in the healthy living of the hupomone lifestyle.  I think that in many cases the noise and clamor of such transformations actually makes settling into daily listening to that small still voice so much more difficult.  This can result in a stalled relationship and stagnant personal health as we only identify the work of the Holy Spirit with radical change. So in the absence of the “burning bush” experience we miss the growth that God has for us.

Hupomone health takes on the characteristics of God as our relationship with Him grows.  It is a health that transcends human circumstances and yet expresses itself concretely in our lives.  Hupomone health proceeds directly from the wisdom of the Father.

“Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.”
Jeremiah 33:6

Hupomone health is a function of supernatural healing.  Jeremiah links health and healing to peace and truth.  These are the gifts that Jesus brings to his people and form the foundation of healthy living for ever Christian.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” John 14:6

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

Accepting peace and truth from God is not as easy as it sounds.  It is a spiritual journey, one with many steps, falters and restarts.  It rests in what Peter Scazzero calls “Loving Union” (Emotionally Healthy Leadership).

“Loving Union is an act of surrender– giving God complete access” (EHL, p. 117)

It is only in that act of total surrender that we can truly accept God’s truth and peace that is so foreign to everything that this world has to offer.  When we come to this place it is a profound move towards the hupomone lifestyle and the health that comes with it.

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Paul made much of his weakness and of the fact that the Holy Spirit manifests itself greatly in our weaknesses making us strong. This is very much true. When God calls you into that uncomfortable place of service that you never expected to be in, He will empower you to be more excellent than you could ever imagine.

“And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

When we use this and other verses like it to focus on our weakness, we miss the entire point. It is not about my weakness. It is about the power of Christ that dwells in me. The Holy Spirit is not out there creating empowerment in the consequences of our incompetent behavior. He is dwelling in us crying out for us to push ourselves to a level of excellence that can only come from God, Redemptive Excellence.

Redemptive Excellence should be the hallmark of godly, Holy Spirit led men and women. They should stand out in every way.

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” Acts 4:13

It was a matter of Redemptive Excellence that caused the Jewish leaders to recognize that these men had been with Jesus. No they were not formally educated but they had applied themselves to excellence during their time with Jesus and the Holy Spirit came up underneath that effort and made them men that would turn the world upside down. (Acts 17:6 KJV) The Holy Spirit did not come behind them cleaning up their messes or excusing their lack of effort. He empowered them to be amazing.

Redemptive Excellence is an expression of God’s call on someone’s life. The Old Testament is full of men and women called by the Holy Spirit to Redemptive Excellence. In each case whether it was Gideon, Deborah, Samuel, David, Elisha, Isaiah and the list goes one, they followed the call of God and the Holy Spirit empowered them to Redemptive Excellence that brought to them a standard of performance that they would not have otherwise attained. It was this empowerment coupled with effort and focus that brought world changing results.

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