I read and heard some great things yesterday that helped in the next steps that God seems to be leading me. I’m starting to see an overall picture of why he has led me to think on the things he has for the past couple of years. There’s one key, underlying element that remains once all the muck and grime are wiped away. That is, Love.
Much of what we see in the Bible we attempt to apply to ourselves—judgment, suffering, obligation. If someone individually is applying this to themselves, that is okay as may be needed in their developing walk with God. Where it all seems to go wrong is when these things are turned on others. It then seems that scripture gets manipulated to the worse possibly things we can imagine. Our default thought pattern seems to have been set to doom and gloom from birth. We talk about love, but the concept is so covered in other things that we hardly recognize what it is.
This is where my journey has led me. All of the passages God has been leading me to study are starting to reveal what love is and what it isn’t. The patterns I was conformed to are fading away more and more and Jesus’ love is pouring in. I pray that I know what to do with this.
My desire is to turn this outwards and start pouring it on others now that I’m starting to know what love is. It’s a bit scary, and could cost me those human comforts I hold so dearly to, but I hope God’s prompting continues in encouraging me to pursue this path.
It’s amazing that, in spite of everything I’ve been told, as long as I kept my eyes on Jesus, I arrived exactly where he wanted me to be. This is much to the dismay of others that expected my participation in their man-made plans, though they don’t seem to recognize that their plans are more about their worldly success than the spreading of the extravagant Kingdom of Jesus and his love.
One of the main concepts I’ve been considering, and that suddenly started making much more sense to me, is the progression of humanity throughout the Bible. As with their stories, we find ourselves moving ever forward, though often we take steps back. While many Christians seem to be wringing their hands at the current news stories, it would seem the entire world is moving in a forward direction. I get just enough glimpses of the Kingdom’s beauty to continue to hope for humanity’s awakening.
What really drove this home for me yesterday was a concept that I will try to boil down in one sentence—Most of what we know as Christian tradition today was once considered heresy. Think about this for a bit. As we move forward in our society with the utmost cries of coming damnation, we state the same things many of the predecessors of our own denominations had to overcome to bring us to the point we’re at. The Bible is an ever evolving story of humanity waking up to God’s reality of a people that are based solely in love for others. Imagine if we were able to just drop all of the distractions, politics, posturings, condemnations, finances, etc…and just live in that reality. It would be a beautiful world indeed.
But I have to say, getting to this point was both difficult and easy. It was easy when I stopped expecting to be led by man. While I got lots of help and advice from others, it was always Jesus leading. The difficult part was those I’ve been more ostracized from because of the changes and growth that they aren’t comfortable with.
On that same note, I’m beginning to respect each individual person’s journey. Whether they are conformed to the most strictest of religious traditions or the most devout atheist, I’m now trying to love them for who they are, where they’re at, and letting God direct both me and them from there. Sometimes I may drop subtle hints of things that they may pick up and run with or ignore altogether depending on their current walk. Now that I look back, it seems some of those who most had an effect on me did the same while giving me plenty of room to grow and see God at the pace I needed.
So what to do and where to go from here? I’m not entirely sure other than to just try to love people where they’re at and let Jesus handle the rest. Perhaps that’s what our primary purpose is in the Kingdom—not forcing, condemning, or manipulating—but simply living out love towards those God has placed us near.