Thursday, September 5, 2013

OMTL Day 5: "Oxygen Mask"

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
        2 Timothy 1:7

I always feel sorry for the airline flight attendants who have to give that safety speech before the plane takes off. Most people just ignore them. In fact, if I'm sitting close to the front, I usually look right at the flight attendant and smile and nod so that they know at least somebody is listening! 

If you do listen, you'll always hear this instruction: 

In the event that our cabin pressure should change, an oxygen mask will be released from the overhead compartment. Please place the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping small children or others who may need assistance. 
So what's the deal? The airlines don't care about small children? Or people who need assistance? Like, if they're too weak to put on the mask they don't deserve any help?

Of course not. The fact is they DO care about people who need assistance. But what they know is that you can't help that person who's having trouble, or that child sitting next to you, if you yourself have passed out for lack of oxygen.

Here's the principle. If you only have 30 days to live--and you want to spend those days living passionately--then you're going to want to do a lot for and with others. You want to connect. You want to give. You want to pour energy to those you love. You want to leave a legacy of love that will outlive you.

But you can't very well help others if you yourself have passed out for lack of "oxygen."

Today's Scripture reminds us that the Holy Spirit, the presence of God, is the oxygen that sustains a life of love. The power and self-discipline to live passionately comes from breathing deeply of God's Spirit. And you have to do that first. "Breathe first."

You're not being selfish when you take time to care for your own spiritual needs before you care for the needs of others. What you're doing is placing the oxygen mask on yourself.

What are you doing to care for your spiritual needs (besides reading this blog)? Consider some of the classic spiritual disciplines that provide a way to breathe the oxygen of God's Spirit:

  • Sabbath--a 24-hour period of rest and renewal
  • Solitude and Silence--extended time alone with God
  • Support--meeting regularly with a group of fellow believers (e.g. a small group)
  • Study--reading a book, attending a class, or digging deep into God's Word

Make a commitment right now to pursue one of these or another spiritual discipline that will help you place the oxygen mask on yourself--so that you have the power to assist others.

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