4 Spaces for Growth (Part 2)
(*just picking up where I left off, please read here for the first half) Space #3 – the altar.
The altar in Old Testament theology and practice was the place where offerings were given – offerings of praise, thanksgiving, and finally for the forgiveness of sins. We all need a space like that – a space for worship, confession, thanksgiving, and encounter with God that is focused and intentional.
Corporate worship is a great place for this to happen, but I’m not convinced that’s the ONLY place for it to happen. However, there is a strong push in the New Testament for the “altar” space to be made in the presence of others. This is where a personal relationship with God blossoms most, when it is celebrated as a corporate or community-based relationship with God.
The altar in community is where we encounter God AND are asked to love and forgive our neighbor. The altar can be a community meal, a small group, a worship experience, etc. but there must be space for the intentional encounter with God and others.
Space #4 – the workbench.
If we’ve heard it once we’ve heard it a thousand times – what we know or feel means nothing until we put it into practice. As a matter of fact, you can be an intellectual hypocrite all your life and never catch flack for it because it’s not attached to an outward action – an application. The workbench is where materials get nailed together, made into something beautiful and/or functional.
Application is where dirt becomes soil, where work looks like love and where sweat and blood are good things. We all need a place where we are focused and intentionally functioning out of the insights and goodness God has produced in our hearts and is leading us through the Holy Spirit to release. I believe this is the true nature of the Ephesians 2:10 statement that we are “created to do good works” – that our highest function is when we are doing “good” which we really can’t come up with on our own but comes from God Himself.
When we are at the workbench, we are using the raw materials of our other spaces and growing by doing.
I’d love to hear what these spaces look like for you. Are they literal physical spaces in your life? Are they figurative spaces that refer to certain disciplines, habits, etc?
List your spaces in the comments below.