“Get thee behind me, Satin.”
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3: 6)
Continue to work out … your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling … for it is God who is all the while at work in you–energizing and creating in you the power and desire–both to will and to work for his good pleasure …(Philippians 2: 12-13)
As Francis does an “about face” to follow Jesus, he chooses to ignore the laughter of his ‘old friends’ and becomes angry, but not at them, but rather at himself. For suddenly “he sees his former life before him, in its folly, its lack of object, its childish vanity. He saw himself in all his pitiful reality–and in front of him stood in shining beauty the life he hitherto had not led–the true life, the just life, the beautiful, noble, rich life–life in Jesus Christ. (Jorgensen)
Francis began to seek the will of God. Nearby, just outside the city limits was a cave in the cliff where he liked to go to pray. Sometimes alone, but usually with a single friend, a distinguished person who remained true to him despite his “change of mind.” (Thomas of Celano)
And there, away from the world, in this dark cave, he found a ‘secret chamber’ where he could pray to his Heavenly Father. And little by little, day by day his desire to do the will of God increased. He began to devalue himself and eventually the poor took the place of his ‘old friends.’
As God’s sons and daughters, we should be without the kind of guile that gives to others only when it will mean a good return in some way for us. We should seek, before God, to be His humble servants, pure in our heart’s desire to give and do, just as He directs us …
God’s Spirit will come to rest upon you, and upon anyone who will live this way, enduring to the last the constant temptation to live for yourself alone (Isaiah 11:2). The Father has promised that if we obey his command to love others, He and His Son, our Jesus Christ, will come and make their home with us and dwell with us forever (John 14: 21-23). Moreover, we will be seen and known as children of the heavenly Father because it will be obvious to all that we are busily, faithfully doing His work and not seeking our own ends (Matthew 5:45).
When we live this way, it may be said that we are truly wedded to Him–in spirit, we the brothers, the sisters, and the mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:48-50).
A man or woman begins to live in the Spirit by determining to become “the bride” of our Lord. In faith, we wed our souls to the Spirit of Christ and begin to enjoy doing His will. We become His “brothers and sisters” as we do the will of His Father who is in heaven. And we are “mothers” to Him when we allow Him to sit enthroned deep within our hearts by loving Him dearly and purely, keeping in good conscience by surrendering to His lordship over all that is ours.
As we knit ourselves with Him in this way, joined to Him in our hearts, a new spirit is born in us. Thus, our spiritual progress is similar to the way life grows within a physical womb. Eventually, we will no longer be living like men and women of the world. Instead, we will be so filled with the Spirit of Christ that we birth Him again into this world by doing the loving acts He himself would do if He were present in the body (John 14: 12) First Letter to All the Faithful: 45-53 (A Day In Your Presence, David Hazard; Rekindling the Inner Fire, Series)
This then, Lord Jesus, is my prayer and desire: “that something more of you may be born into this world through me.” Amen