Sunday, October 27, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
As I've made my way through life and seen the spiritual journeys of various individuals, it seems to me that many people who have grown up in the church and been indoctrinated with a certain view of God may (and often do) have a difficult time when the inevitable hard questions about God arise. This has just been my own limited observation, but it has been repeated often enough that it causes me to ask, "why is this?" I wonder if it could be that after years of learning about the nature and character of God, we so self-identify with our views of Him or our interpretation of Scripture that if anything upsets that viewpoint, we tend to experience anything from a tremor to a full-blown seismic shift in the foundation of our faith. Is this the reason that most people either never leave the faith of their upbringing, or they fall away completely if their familiar paradigm of reality gets shaken? From my vantage point, both for good and for evil, this does seem to be a major aspect of human nature.
The irony is that our views or beliefs about God do not diminish, change or affect who God is one tiny iota. God is who He is, and it is up to us as His creation to "seek His face", regardless of how entrenched or comfortable we are in our beliefs and pre-conceived notions. God never conforms Himself to what we want or need Him to be. Rather, it is incumbent upon us all to let God lead us through the same "letting go" of our previously held ideas of Him that many of our brothers and sisters in Scripture had to endure. Simply put, God gets to define Himself to us on His own terms. And by His ordained plan, this only truly happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to speak and impress on us who God is as He comes to us through the truth of His Word. The "putting off the old man and putting on the new man" spoken of in Ephesians does not mean only putting sin to death in our lives, but also allowing God to reveal Himself to us as He truly is.
My earnest desire is for my children to grow up in God's Church and know their Creator from a very early age. We pray with them every night that God would grant them hearts of repentance and give them a holy hunger to seek out what only He can satisfy. But I also pray that, by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who alone reveals Christ to the sinner, that I will leave just enough 'breathing room' in how I herald the Gospel for them to allow for the mystery of salvation to weigh on them, so that they might seek to know God in Christ, not as I did, but as He wills that they do.
This is a primary difference between our Abba Father, who desires an intimate, personal relationship with His children, and the other "gods" of the world, whose followers are so enslaved in their false beliefs and so threatened by anything that may upset those beliefs that they often feel the need to defend the name of their human-imagined deities with the sword. As a father, I desire that my children grow to know a God that does not need to be defended, who is not de-throned by the big, difficult questions, and whose sovereign eye looks at the nations of the world as merely "dust in the scales"; and yet who, by a mystery too wonderful to comprehend, knows their "rising up and their laying down". This is the Almighty Abba-Jehovah of Scripture, who we cling to, because He is our Salvation and our treasure, and yet who we must simultaneously hold loosely, because He is the uncreated One, who will not be contained. Eph. 1:16-18
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
"Our ideal, our picture, our model, is Jesus Christ. We want to become like him. We want to be shaped and molded like him. We want to be a servant like he is a servant. We want to consider others better than ourselves as he considered others better than himself, despite the fact he was God. We want to live sacrificially. We want to give joyfully. We want to lay down our lives for the good of the glory of God.
This is our self-ideal, and you will fall woefully short of it, and you will be aware that you fall woefully short of it, on repeat. Yet the grace of God and the delight of God and the justification of God in Jesus Christ anchor our hearts in this place where guilt and shame don't lead us to fear and anxiety, don't lead us to anger and abuse, don't lead us to lustful intent, but rather has an ever-increasing joy in our Father who delights in us despite us, so that when we fall short, it will actually serve to stoke the fire of delight in God.
Then we get in a perfect storm where grace feeds passion that feeds grace that feeds passion that feeds grace that feeds passion, and that's where we'll be stuck, and those are good waters to be stuck in." -Matt Chandler