I use to believe there were two kinds of people in the world–the saved and the unsaved. Of coarse, I could pick out which was which based on their actions–actions I was taught to recognize and acknowledge as good or bad. Thus, I could point out “those people” that were going to hell and “these people” who weren’t. I only state this as most of my life revolved around viewing others this way.
I wrote recently that my questions had ceased and, to an extent, this is true. Those initial questions, that I now see as the basis of (my) growing close to God, have caused me to re-evaluate everything I know or thought I knew. These questions seem to be common to many I’ve heard from. What questions have you buried in your heart because you’ve been made afraid of being divisive, wrong, ungodly, rejected, etc..? From my own personal experiences I can say that God is big enough to handle those question with a great amount of patient and love even if others don’t respond well to your new found freedom in Jesus.
Through many months of talking and even wrestling with God, and through many frustrations of trying to back God into a doctrinal corner to get him to be what I wanted him to be, he has led me to many amazing realizations. One of these is that there are two distinct “types” in the world–those who see God’s workings in their life and those who don’t…yet…
When I started seeing God as love and dared to believe him to be good, I began viewing all other events through both my life and all of history from that perspective. I don’t want to go into too many specific details, at least not in this post, but this view point has been liberating beyond words. In fact, I’m seeing how trying to explain it in words can fall woefully short. This has led me to seeing God working in the lives of those who don’t even realize it, whether they have labeled themselves as religious or not. Likewise, many who claim God’s name most often seem to be the most confused (like I had been) when the results of their works start to crumble.
Thousands of years after the initial scriptures were compiled, we still find ourselves pursuing a tribal mindset–I need to get me and mine into heaven/safety and those others are going to hell/have to perish. This isn’t the message that the Bible conveys overall though many have misconstrued it this way. Israel, and now Christians, are to be the light of the world that helps bring all other “tribes” out of that dark-age mindset. Whether it is the U.S. verses another country or “my church” verses “those others”, we still tend to fall flat on our faces even after thousands of years. We’re still concentrating on self-centered, my-tribe-only love instead of other-centered love like Jesus exemplifies, even when it cost him his life.
I write these type things mostly to myself–try to view everyone from the perspective of God working in their lives, and maybe I’ll find how he wants me to be a part of that work–to show others into the love, beauty, and freedom of the Kingdom that is here and now. This isn’t through an agenda of conversion, but through simply living for those that Jesus leads me to. While I’m new to this viewpoint, it’s an exciting prospect to pursue.
Yesterday, I witnessed something quite ordinary yet quite remarkable.
A father and son were playing a board game. The young son was starting to lose as he didn’t really have much of a handle on the inner workings of the game. However, the father, seeing his kid getting frustrated, started dropping small hints on how to proceed. The father kept staving off his own victory to guide his son, though the son wanted to do things his own way. Eventually, the kid won with his dad having only one move left to win himself. The father had guided his son to victory even though he lost himself.
This father had been known through his life to be very competitive yet when it came to his son, he chose to lose instead, even in the sight of all of those around.
As I watched this unfold, I thought of how great a representation this is of God. He chose to suffer defeat at our hands, his own children, so that we could be victorious over sin. Jesus took all the steps to win victory for himself, yet, he chose to lose his life so he could defeat sin and give us that victory. He also continues to guide us to ultimate victory over death even though we may get frustrated when we continually fail by doing things our way instead.
God loves us. He already knows the glorious outcome to our lives and he is working, even in our mishaps, to bring about his ultimate plan of redemption and eternal life.
Lately, God hasn’t laid much on my heart to write about. However, he has placed much in my mind to think about. In a way, I want to write about these things, but maybe I have to get my bearings from these realizations first.
I’m still making my way through the New Testament again but the progress is slow. This isn’t because I’ve been slacking, but what I’m learning is taking quite some time to digest. The more my eyes are opened, the more amazing I see God’s love is for everyone.
The past few months have been particularly astounding to me. More specifically, in the past week, God has again challenged me to the core. At times I was mentally distraught until he reached out to comfort me again. This might not make a whole lot of sense from the outside, but it has brought new revelation as to the depths of God’s love for us, his children.