Get Up Quickly!Fr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is risen!
Sometimes it’s just time to move. I mean there comes a time in your life when the day has past for contemplation, planning, and consideration and the time comes to act and act fast.
But you are never going to be ready for that moment in your life without preparation. And that preparation takes three distinct disciplines to make you ready to move when the time comes.
No one is able to be agile if they aren’t mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared.
Just like an athlete, the person ready to act in any given situation has already prepared for that defining moment through Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. These three disciplines makes the disciple of Jesus ready at all times to act and react to both opportunities and threats.
Prayer creates intimacy with God so that you hear Him clearly giving you direction and encouragement. Prayer, both corporate and personal, trains the soul to hear God and obey God. Prayer is the absolute essential training discipline to make you ready to move when the time is right! Without it, you’ll miss your moment.
Fasting makes the soul agile and swift. It disciplines the passions to be trained to know that the soul connected to God is the master of life, not my immediate desires. Because when my passions rule me, I am lethargic and dull. I am hard of hearing His wisdom and I am focused on my wants rather than my true need for God. Fasting heals my inner self and strengthens my memory of the central need of my life – communion with God. With this discipline I am spiritually fit. Without it, well a flabby soul is never ready to move when the time is right!
Almsgiving is the path to liberty for my heart. My ability to hold my possessions loosely will make me ready for any situation in life. No created thing holds my devotion more than my devotion to God. With the discipline of almsgiving, I train my whole self to value God and His Gospel more than any other possession in my life. When I know how to be generous with my physical treasures I am ready to respond to whatever life throws at me as a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Until I learn this discipline of “hilarious generosity” I will be weighed down by my possessions and my fears for my future as if I, alone, are responsible for my well being.
These three disciplines existing in St. Peter made it possible for us to witness his reactions to his situation in today’s Scripture Lesson.
In Acts 12:1-11 St. Peter has been arrested by Herod, the king, and he is in jail. St. James has already become a martyr for his faithfulness to Christ and now Herod means to kill Peter. But God has another path for this great Apostle.
While Peter is in jail that night the Lord sends an angel to rescue him. And what does the angel find? Our precious saint is asleep chained between two guards! St. Peter is so confident, so at peace with his soul, that he can sleep soundly even though he knows his very physical life is in mortal danger! No one gets to that kind of confidence, that kind of peace without prior preparation.
The angel takes Peter out of prison and our brother rejoices that he is ready to move when the time is right. The Angel actually has to wake him up with these words: “Get up quickly.” (verse 7) And Peter is ready to move. The chains fall off him and he walks out of prison rescued by God because he was ready!
Today, what prison do you find yourself in at this moment? What fear keeps you chained to the twin “guards” of “doubt” and “pride?” Begin practicing the three disciplines that heal the soul and you will find the wisdom of God there for you to take you out of the prison in your heart and lead you to be ready to “Get up quickly” and escape the slavery that keeps you from becoming who you really are!
You were meant for freedom, dearest. You were meant to leave the prisons that keep your real self hidden and locked away! So, today, Pray, Fast, and Give with hilarious generosity!