Monday, March 28, 2016

Identity in Christ - 65 (Called by His eXcellence)

Obviously worded so the original compiler of the list got an "X."

The passage says that, because we have given our allegiance to Jesus, because we have chosen to enter into relationship with the Father, the Father, in turn, has provided all we need to live, and all we need to live in a way that agrees with and honors him. He pumps the necessary fuels into our spirits to feed them. But more than merely survive, he gives them in abundance.

And he invites us to have relationship by showing us his glory and his excellence. His glory would indicate his transcendent qualities: power, knowledge, presence. His excellence indicates his moral qualities: purity, goodness, but also love, kindness, faithfulness.

It is hard for people to relate to God as transcendent. We cannot imagine omnipresence, omnipotence, or omniscience. We recognize them and understand them to a point. It is the moral qualities that we identify with. It is that part of God's image that he imprints human beings with. So, it is that part we understand best.

♦ God's Perspective

Scripture says that it is God's kindness that moves us to turn from following our path, and choose to follow his.

Fear does motivate a desire to follow the rules. People seek to avoid punishment. But fear does not motivate relationship. And God seeks relationship, not just keeping the rules.

God communicates honestly with us. We know the consequences of breaking his law. He also communicates that it is impossible for us to keep his law. So, he invites us to take the way of escape that he has provided.

But it is more than a way of escape. It is the way into relationship. It is opening the door into God's family room. We can enter, sit by the fire, eat popcorn and play "Settlers" with our Father. We can pursue meaning, purpose and the heart of God.

♦ Living My Life

Rather than areas to practice, I think this trait reveal more concerning God's heart toward us. God's purpose is to create a family. He created the first people in his family. And they said that knowing God and being in his family was not enough. Since, then, no person is born belonging to God's family.

God pursues people. He attempt to convince them to choose relationship with him, and, then, adopts them into his family.

There is a lot of discussion about God's methods of revealing himself and convincing people to follow him. Many people think they know a better way than God does.

First consideration: Jesus told a story where the punchline is – even if someone were to rise from the dead, and warn people about God's judgment, some people would listen, but many people would not.

Second consideration: The Bible says that god's method is God's people. People walk with him, live with him, and he reveals himself to them. They are transformed. They live in greater wisdom, emotional health, and balance, because they know the One who provides, feeding their hearts. People who have had relationship with Jesus for 50 years still do not have it together. There are some people who know Jesus for 1-2 years, who have it together more than the 50-year person, because the 2-year person depends on the Father who gives, and the 50-year person on the system of religion.

The family of God has gotten into the habit of trusting in the system, and the professional experts, rather than the Father.

Please don't misunderstand. God wants us to live in relationship with him … and his family. God uses our brothers and sisters to speak to us, to our hearts and lives. A community of open-hearted, living, obedient children of God facilitates and strengthens God moving in our hearts, as well as being a powerful weapon of drawing people into relationship with him.

But he is the expert and the source of heart renewal and transformation. He is the only One who can touch a person's spiritual DNA. Ultimately, reliance on a person, system, or tool leads us away from reliance on the Giver of life.

Again, please don't misunderstand. A few posts back, I mentioned that I practice a form of divina lectio. Divina lection was developed by Benedict in the 6th century. It is a very old tool. Tools and systems can be very valuable in our spiritual growth. Other people can be very valuable as guides. At times, we cannot hear God clearly, because our circumstances, or the enemy, are screaming too loudly in our ears. Others can help clear away the confusion and distractions.

If a tool or system continues to help someone walk with God, by all means, he should continue to use it. But we cannot ultimately depend on a system, tool, or person, except the persons of the Father, Son, and Spirit. The trick is discerning when something is no longer profitable, and we need to move onto some other practice. And what that is.

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