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Metanoia


So many deeply felt convictions are stirring in my heart this morning as I conclude my annual read through Luke's gospel. It's in moments like these that the scriptures truly inspire and affirm my spiritual being.


Much insight is offered here as to the way we humans deal with spiritual, and emotional dynamics.


Note the separation implied between true spirituality and mere emotion.

Spirituality unlike emotion, sets quite the different trajectory than the best of emotional intent. The latter is will power alone, more a coping mechanism until grace affords one the ultimate release of their spirit.


I truly believe that we are spirits on a human journey! Matter almost an illusion, our bodies a necessary container.


It is only when we fully grasp this truth that freedom comes, and with that the ability to walk into one's unique calling, their purpose for existence, their Sweet Spot!


The word metanoia is the Greek word for repentance (μετάνοια), which is made up of two words: meta (new) and nous (mind). In the New Testament, metanoia means "a new mind of thinking" or "think completely differently".


Metanoia is used 58 times in the New Testament, while metamelomai is used only six times and aligns more with emotion and regret. To put it simple, the latter is more the "oops, I got caught in a weak moment (regret)" than any deep conviction sufficient to change the course of one's life trajectory.


In such moments, I am reminded of a child testing their limits, as well as the patience of their parents, versus those proud moments celebrated when deep maturity affords healthy decisions.


Spiritual maturity should also be celebrated.


The entire purpose behind the gospel is about an awareness of a grace available in moments of emotional stupidity, insuring a better life if one so chooses...this is the way, walk you in it!


The last few chapters of Luke provide insight into the distance between emotional regret and a totally new mindset.


I truly believe the majority of those who walked with the Christ, only came to the point of a true shift in mindset after Pentecost. Their first true baptism, John's merely a foretaste.


Perhaps the diminishing impact of the Church in America is a reflection of the depth of our baptism, one more about emotional, religious intent than true metanoia?


Joseph of Arimathaea, seems atypical in his devotion, risking his standing with the power brokers of his day by asking for the body. Luke calls him a "good man".


What an understatement, given that he was the one who had to rip the hands and feet of Jesus from the cross before placing him in the tomb, one he unknowingly had been destined to provide.


Think about it, Joseph was known by God centuries before his birth, given Isaiah's prophecy: "He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth." Isaiah 53:9.


Then there were three ladies, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the Mother of James, (whom as I understand was also the mother of Jesus). These three were all in, unable to just abandon the only physical remains of the one they so deeply loved. Preparing spices and perfume, though they did take a day off, honoring the Sabbath, an insight into their religious devotion.


Meanwhile the eleven men are unseen, their metanoi, their mindset apparently not yet fully shifted. There is something about the gender makeup of women, beyond just maternity.


Something was however beginning to shift among the men, as revealed by the conversation on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:32, "“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”


Note that transformation shows up first in the heart, then the mouth begins to make confession sufficient for the mind to shift. Only after that can one's behavior change, at least that was the case with this male writer.


Mere words, confessions made before the heart changes, (that sinner's prayer thing among Evangelicals) more aligns with a hurried means of entry into the community of faith, hardly assuring true metanoia.


That was certainly evident with

Brother Peter, boasting never to deny the Messiah, just before he finds himself sheepishly sitting by a fireside, even accenting his denial with profanity!

Mind you, I am not discounting the faithful work of the Spirit in such moments.


Being born of the Spirit, being truly transformed was what John the Baptist spoke of when he preached of the One who would baptize with fire, the only true Baptism.


Lets not kid ourselves, anything less is just a dunk in a pool!




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Jesus and James were brothers

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