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The moment I saw this Hebrew phrase on the page of Mark 7, I knew I had to blog about it. I knew because I felt called out by it. Challenged. Convicted. Commanded. Compelled.

Eph'pha-tha. That is, Be opened. (Mark 7:34).

The past year and a half has been a time of closed stores and closed doors, and many people have struggled with feeling closed-off because of it. I must confess, I can't relate. Lockdown has been, to me, permission to stay in my comfort zone without interruption for nearly a full year and a half, and on one hand that's a problem in that it allowed me to close myself off. On the other hand, though, it gave me time to recalibrate my focus, to be centred in what matters most.

God. Jesus. The Holy Spirit.

It's easy to go through the motions when life is simple. Bible reading becomes routine, prayer a daily chore, fellowship something to muscle through with some pep talks and energy bars and a whole lot of faking it till you make it (introverts, I know you feel me). But then life changes. Something drastic happens. Suddenly, you can take a step back, blink out of the trance you've fallen into, realize that your faith walk has become a closed box. Closed tightly, taped securely, gift-wrapped, and tied with a bow. Neat and predictable.

I thought I had being a Christian down to a science, but my picture of God was small enough to fit in the box with me: if I really understood who He is, I'd have known that my picture was all wrong. God cannot be boxed inside routine, tradition, a formula for spiritual growth and success. God is infinite. I am the box. And as long as I'm a closed box—content with what little spiritual maturity I have and not looking for anything more—I can't receive the incredible things He wants to pour into me from His infinite abundance.

Be opened.

Reading the Bible, praying, and fellowship are CRUCIAL, but they're not the ends; they are the means. A means to greater intimacy with God, a means to greater spiritual growth, a means to greater potency as warriors of the kingdom.

Be opened.

We spend so much time introspecting, trying to organize and rearrange and declutter what is inside of ourselves instead of throwing open the flaps of our minds and saying, Lord, you take over! Do something with this junk! Fill me with yourself! Make me yours within and without!

Be opened.

We are afraid to think outside the box. We are afraid of ideas that conflict with ours—not with the Word of God, not with Scripture, but with our opinions. But what if our opinions are askew? What if we are weighing our desires above Scripture and God's directive for our lives? Are our eyes closed to something He is trying to show us?

Eph'pha-tha. Be opened.

God is so much bigger than we imagined. Three in one—and we need all three.

Eph'pha-tha. Rip the box open and let all of Him in.

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