November 1: Becoming Icons
‘Let us consider how we may provoke one another to love and good deeds.’ (Heb. 10:24)
We go through the fire of God’s refining love in order to know Him more. We endure the shame of exposing our idols to Him and to others so we can be whole; our integration as persons depends on worship of the true God, not many false ones. We admit our losses and disappointments, especially with the Church, in order for God to tenderize our otherwise hardening hearts.
The result of love’s fire? We become more like Him, clear-enough icons who can reveal Jesus to our fellow Christians. Together, we iconic ones display a radiant mosaic to a world who will perish without us. That’s right: without the revelation of a trustworthy, welcoming Church, the world has not a chance.
Still enslaved by devotion to mere creatures, I beheld the witness of my two brothers who had become Christians. Lit from within, their sullen, bullying tendencies began to change; they became kind and caring, concerned for my well-being rather than mocking my gender brokenness. They became iconic. Jesus drew me to Himself through their transformed lives.
Many years later, having been subject to many refining fires, I still need icons. I meet regularly with a small team of people, including my beautiful wife, who prayerfully direct our ministry. They love me well. Each has witnessed my weaknesses in pitiful action and yet has not rejected me. Instead, they have sought to shore up our efforts with compassion, humble service, and the occasional correction. That team is nothing less than Jesus to me.
Welcoming icons, I become one myself. I marvel at how God employs me to call captives out of exile. He uses my imperfect presence to reveal Jesus to persons far away. A few days ago, I ran into an old friend who had apparently fallen away from the faith. The ache in his eyes conveyed how badly he wanted to come home to Jesus. By the end of our brief encounter God had enkindled a holy fire in his heart.
God refines us to make us pure-enough conduits of His mercy. We are each stained glass windows: glorious colors a bit muted by the sorrows of life and yet uniquely tinted by them. In the light of His love for us, these colors blaze and ignite saints and sinners alike. Nothing surpasses the joy of revealing to others the One who called us out of darkness and into His glorious light (1 Pet. 2:9).
‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as we see the Day approaching.’
Please join us as we pray for:
South, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Dean Greer – Coordinator: For new regional leadership to be identified and raised-up, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
Aguas Vivas: Baja California and Cuernavaca, Mexico: Guidance, wisdom and stamina for Maite at DSM/LW as she encourages and helps leaders to start ContraCorriente groups
RHN: Transforming Congregations, Karen Booth, Monroe, WI: Continued healing and recovery from knee surgery. Refreshment and revitalization during four months of sabbatical, 9/14 – 1/15. Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, Regina Griggs, Reedsville, VA: For the fulfillment of the Lord’s purposes for the ministry.
“Courage for Pastor Phil Strout (National Director of Vineyard USA), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”