The teacher kept asking the class, ‘What did you notice…..?’
I confess I am not good at noticing things. On occasion I have been asked what colour the bridesmaids’ dresses were and had absolutely no idea! Noticing is not one of my strengths. But the art of noticing leads to greater awareness, so I am practicing.
Waiting at traffic lights recently, I was practicing. I saw a man walking across the road, followed by a young boy on his bike. The boy was obviously on his way to school. The man came to the footpath and walked on, but the boy’s bike hit the curb and over he, and the bike, went. The man turned back and helped the boy up and got him to the safety of the footpath. Immediately I thought of this as a generous expression of care. Then I became aware of the music playing on my car CD, “I’ve just seen Jesus.” I had just seen Jesus! Jesus enfleshed in this caring man. More than that, I glimpsed what Jesus has done for me spiritually.
He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
I noticed! My noticing gave rise to a greater awareness of God’s presence in the world and His grace in my own life. From deep within me came expressions of gratitude and praise.
Whether I am looking or not, whether I am aware or not, God is actively involved in his world. He invites you and me, ordinary people, to notice. To notice and let our awareness and experience of His presence over flow into the activities of our everyday lives.
Making time to notice is not necessarily complicated but it is important.
‘…the active life in the world for God can only properly flow from a life with God.' ¹
What is true for us individually is also true for us as a movement.
Lt. Col Robert Street wrote,
‘‘The vitality of our spiritual life as a Movement will be seen and tested in our turning to the world in evangelism and service, but the springs of our spiritual life are to be found in our turning to God in worship, in the disciplines of life in the Spirit, and in the study of God’s word.’ ²
Jesus is our supreme model and teacher. Scripture tells us that He frequently retreated to be alone with his Father. At times of major decision, he spent extended periods of time in silence, discerning the way forward.
Often we settle for a quick Bible reading and prayer before plunging headlong into our day. We may have a brief prayer at the beginning of a meeting and then launch into the ‘real business’!
Salvationists are activists. Some of us may have unintentionally bought into the lie that the more we do, the busier we are, the more church activities we attend, the better Christians we are and the greater our spiritual growth will be. It’s part of the lie of our times where busyness is often applauded and equated with success. But busy can be just busy! Busy does not necessarily mean success, productivity or growth.
A visiting leader said to me recently,
“I haven’t met a Salvo who doesn’t want to grow in holiness, who doesn’t want to be more like Jesus”.
In the positive then, all Salvos want to grow!
We can broaden that out and say that all believers need to grow.
All believers can enjoy a deeper relationship with God, development of their inner life, and growth in holiness.
To do this we may have to take time to notice what God is doing in our world, and take notice of what He desires to do in our lives. The role of the Spiritual Life Development (SLD) – Discipleship is to help believers engage in this life - long process of becoming like Jesus in character, behaviour and discernment.
¹ Peter Scazzero ‘Emotionally Healthy Spirituality’, p. 50
² Commissioner Robert Street, Called to be God’s people
Spiritual Life Development - AUS
Major Heather Jenkins
Take a look at the Australian Southern Territory’s Spiritual Life Development website - www.sarmy.org.au/sld for further information