At the end of my devotions each morning, I pray and meditate on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. To me, it is the perfect way to start my day. As I prepare to go out into the world each day, it serves as a reminder that I should strive each day to allow myself to be used by God for His purposes, and it gives me some practical ways in which to do so.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
If I am to live as Jesus lived, then I must also do as Jesus did. As the Messianic Prophecy explains in Isaiah 61, Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve - to bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. When we open ourselves to the Spirit's leading... when we allow his current to flow through us without resistance... when we allow ourselves to be a channel through which he can work... it is then that we are most likely to be able to see him at work in our lives and in the lives of others around us. When we're in control, our vision is clouded. When we give up control his vision is clear.
The danger of opening ourselves to allow the spirit to flow through us unrestricted, is that we might just get what we ask for! If we mean what we say when we ask for the spirit to move and direct us, we have to be ready for some radical directions. It is easy for us to put limits on the spirit's direction, and I know that I am often guilty of this. It is easy for me to say, "I want to serve. I'm ready and willing, as long as I don't have to... or as long as I can..." We don't like to be uncomfortable, but when we allow ourselves to be uncomfortable, to be used the way God wants us to be used, it is then that we can catch a glimpse of his amazing kingdom.