“This is why the holy fathers also withdrew into the desert alone, men such as Elijah the Tishbite and John the Baptist…having first practiced much quiet, they then received the power of God dwelling in them, and then God sent them into the midst of men, having acquired every virtue, so that they might act as God’s provisioners and cure men of their infirmities. For they were physicians of the soul, able to cure men’s infirmities…But they are only sent when all their own diseases are healed.” Abba Ammonas the Bishop, Letters of Ammonas
What if, in all this talk about transformation, the whole point was not about making you more whole or healing past hurts, but preparing you to bring healing to others? As your heart begins to soften to the heart of the Father and you begin to look like him (link about the 8 characteristics), you are drawn into the radical responsibility of embodying the heart of the Father to His creation.
It is no accident that we are called the light of the world. As our lives become more and more His life, that light begins to shine ever brighter and brighter.
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
That light begins to have a deeply transformative effect upon my life:
Psalms 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.
I am arrested by the beautiful light of the Father and begin to see things through the prism of His love. This light effects a profound change over my heart. And that change has a tangible effect on my external life:
Psalms 34:5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.
As I walk with the Father, the motivation for all that I do becomes two-fold. The first is to pierce His heart. As I am transformed my desire to know Him grows. I delight myself in the Lord and the desires of my heart begin to reflect the desires of His heart (Psalm 37:4). We have tasted His tenderness and are ever moved towards His heart.
The second motivation is to share His heart with others. This is the final stage of the transformation. Isaiah found his mission in the aftermath of brokenness:
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Isaiah catches a sight of the beauty of God, is completely undone, is reconstituted, and begins to hear the heart of God. His response to the heart of God is to go the people to declare the purposes of God. There is no more thought of his unworthiness, his uncleanness, his inability. In being transformed, Isaiah’s eyes are no longer on his own frailty. His eyes behold the Father and his willingness comes from the sustaining presence of God.
God calls anyone he intends to use into seasons of silence and solitude in order to bring healing to the soul. Anyone that is to bring healing to others must themselves be healed. Those who go to minister to the needs of others before they are healed go of their own will and must sustain themselves. One of the great lessons of transformation is that you only exist on the life of God.
The motivation for ministry of any form is to bring others into the experience of God you have cherished. The motivation for life is piercing the heart of God, the motivation for ministry is piercing the hearts of others with His.
An unhealed and unbroken heart is the saddest of all wounds. It keeps us from finding our true place and calling within the Father’s kingdom.
The role of the Son as His life manifested on earth was to bring healing:
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Those who are spiritually mature will be concerned with helping others find the Father’s heart. However, no amount of spiritual discipline will cover over an unhealed heart. Silence, solitude, fasting, prayer, etc…are no excuse for the painful process of inner healing. We must dredge up all the ugliness that is within us if we hope to find help in the spiritual life. We cannot settle for a quick band aid when eternity is at stake.
As I come into a revelation that I am a child of the Father I do not come into privilege, but rather I come into my mission. I live to make Him known.
A number of years ago I was at an event standing in judgement against some of the people that had attended. My attitude was basically summed up as, “They aren’t all that spiritual and gifted.” As I was standing there, the Lord spoke to me. He said,
“If you are My son, then these are your brothers. A son does not stop at being a son, he is an heir.”
I realized then and there that as a son I had a responsibility in the kingdom of God. As an heir, I had an inheritance. And as a son-heir, it was my responsibility to welcome these brothers and sisters into that inheritance. Even if my judgment was right, then my responsibility as an heir was still to do all that I could to welcome them and help them discover their God given identity and purpose.
The other side of brokenness is that I am put back together. But in being put back together I look very different. As I am healed I am sent, and as I discovered the healing presence of Christ, I become the healing presence myself. Why? There are no better words than the Apostle Paul to describe the final outcome of transformation:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
In being broken I have discovered His life and His healing. And now my task is to bring that healing with me wherever I go.