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Seeds of the Kingdom

Observe, Understand, Turn

by Fiona Horrobin

17 January 2015

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Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes and I will observe them to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Turn my heart to your decrees and not to selfish gain. Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.
Psalm 119:13-17, NRSV

Meeting someone new and getting to know them can be a wonderful experience. This person may be a working colleague whom I get to be with day by day. On the other hand this person may be a potential life partner or friend. The twists and turns of every day offer many opportunities to meet new people. Not all of these are likely to be life-long relationships, but nevertheless, depending on the context of the relationship, if we embrace it in a healthy way, it has the potential to be a wonderful enhancement of life.

Embarking on the journey of a new relationship inevitably reflects light back on ourselves. As we observe someone else and their ways, we begin to understand their character. This puts a mirror up to our own character, and, if we’re open hearted, we begin to change. Firstly, through the new relationship, the mirror may show us aspects of ourselves that we don’t like and which may need to change. Secondly the new relationship may mirror back to us something of our own intrinsic value and worth, from which we can grow and develop with confidence. Thirdly the new relationship increases our potential, and widens the road to a healthy and broader place of understanding, fruitfulness and joy.

However, sometimes we can adopt a protective instinct to defend our feelings, our opinions and our way of doing things. And in doing so we create barriers which can hide from us what’s ordained by God for life’s enrichment. Inadvertently we can turn inwards and cease to embrace the very thing we crave! All we see derives from our own thoughts, ideas, feelings, desires, and prejudices. The Scripture above calls this ‘our vanities’. It’s then that our hearts become hardened and trained to feed from them. We become suspicious of anything outside our own tightly held beliefs and practices and try to protect ourselves from them, (although this may be done subconsciously). Maybe we should ask ourselves today whether we’ve ever done this in our relationship with God. If so, our heart won’t ultimately be open to observe, understand and enter into who He is.

His invitation is to pray the prayer of Psalm 119 above. He invites us to be in relationship with Him, observing His character and nature, understanding His ways, and then turning from our own human vanities and receiving His limitless life. Unlike human relationships the relationship with our Heavenly Father is completely trustworthy. There’s no limit, disappointment or let-down. Each day will open up a fresh view of life and never grow stale. We’ll begin to see human relationships through His eyes, and not through the eyes of our own limited human perceptions. Observing Him, understanding Him and turning to Him, with His commandments, decrees and laws, bring us life and health.

His injunction to us is to have open hearts, receive from Him, and in doing so embrace others we’re in relationship with today. What a wonderful invitation the Lord is handing to us to know Him, observe His ways and understand His character. And in finding who He is we can turn from selfishness to being a person who receives life itself, and becomes an imparter of life to others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I turn my eyes towards You today, to observe You, understand You, and turn from my own vanities. Please give me the grace to break my own mirror of vanity and look into the mirror of Your face, so I can observe, understand, turn and receive life, in Your ways. Amen.

Fiona Horrobin has been a key part of pioneering the work of Ellel Ministries International. From over twenty years experience of ministering into broken lives, she is passionate to see healing as integral to discipleship and Christian growth.


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