Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Am Afraid of What Others Might Think

I heard that many times in life, and have found myself using it as well. That has stopped many people from enjoying life, moving forward and taking risks. Including me.

But what does this mean when we look at it in the reality of who and what we are in Christ?

I will go over each word individually, but also as part of the whole. For every word spoken in this sentence, adds more problems exponentially.

I: "I" is a big word.  It is all about Me.  Me, myself and I.  MeMeMeeee! The first thing we do is start off with “me” when we should be starting off with the Triune God.  So we say “I” instead of saying “Our Father”.

I am:  Like Adam, we begin to replace God, the Great I AM, with our own version of “I am”.  (Gen. 3:10) We have ideas of what we are outside of who and what we are in Christ. If we start with the true “I AM”, the Trinity, then we would not be so focused on this broken "I am".

Afraid:  Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). So right off the bat, we are not using the fruit of the Holy Spirit: Love.  The very first words of Adam to God after he took of that forbidden fruit were, “I was [am] afraid”.   Fear sums up all of the troubles and sins of humanity.  And the first victim of that fear was God.  Adam and Eve found a new fear and hid themselves from God.   But Jesus Christ removed that fear.  So why are we still hiding from God and from each other?  We still hold on to that fear because we are still seeing ourselves as “I am” rather than seeing God.

Of What:  Yes, of what?  What are you afraid of?  An unknown?  “I am afraid of what” is a good question.  We too often don’t even know what we are afraid of, so we lash out against God and everything and everyone else. 

Others:  That committee of others.  Whoever they are. Like the “what”, we don’t even know "who".  We have yet to meet them.  So we just call them “others”.  What is so detrimental about this is that the “others” might be your family, friends and neighbors!  Why are we afraid of them?  What have they done to deserve such a critical view of them?  It shows how critical and accusing we have become.  Again, like Adam who blamed God and Eve for his fears and troubles.

Might: Not will, just “might”. We are not even sure that they will think or not think. We just stop our lives in mid stroke just based on a “might”, a "maybe", a “not sure but just in case”.  There is no reality to this fear except our own.

Think:  Not do, just "think". Now when did the thought of others actually hurt you?  The only way the thoughts of others can hurt you is when they act or speak out those thoughts.  But we have not gotten that far yet. We are still just on “think”.  Maybe they did think these things (whatever it is that we think they thunk), and IF they did, they may have changed their thoughts immediately and started thinking right (called repentance). Or maybe their thoughts were very good towards you (Like God’s thoughts towards Adam and Eve were good), but we are afraid of them anyway, even though they may not have thought them at all.

Put them all together and you are revealing a whole mess of broken theology at work in your lives!

When you really think about it (speaking of which), you will find that our fears are based on selfishness and believing that others are taking their valuable time and concern and negatively placing it towards you and that what they think are actually evil thoughts!   In reality, they are actually our evil thoughts towards them!  How dare we to stop living based on our misconceptions of our family, friends and neighbors. And who said they were thinking about you anyway you selfish “i am”?  They have their own concerns!

Who knows?  The "Others" may want to support you in your mission in life! And if they don't, that is their life, not yours.

“I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 Yes, Jesus said “might” (KVJ), but not because Jesus is holding back, but because we still allow our selfish, paranoid fears to hold us back from the reality of who and what Jesus is and our wonderful relationship we have with God.  We can now live back in His garden, living off of the Tree of Life, who is Jesus.

“I am afraid of what others might think” is so wrong on so many levels!

If Jesus thought like that, he never would have walked on water, or healed on the Sabbath, or picked grain on the Sabbath! He is the real "I AM" and I AM is not afraid of what others might think!

I will admit that some people do have broken relationships with someone thinking negatively towards them, but chances are, they are thinking negatively towards a lot more than just you and the life you are living in Christ. It is them, not you.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Round and Round We Go!


One of the things we need to question in our evangelical quest to “save as many souls as possible before all hell breaks loose" is, who, how and why.

But I keep going back to what Jesus Christ said about himself and the Father. “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” John 6:65.

Well, that’s fine and dandy, except, what if the Father never calls this person? What do we do then? I suppose we tell them “Tough luck kid, I guess you’re going to be punished in hell for the next zillion years even though you didn’t have a chance to begin with!”

That doesn’t seem to be fair, especially from a loving God and for such a short, miserable life this person had. And how would we ever know if God is calling them later or not? Should we give up? Try to save them ourselves? Wait on the Lord as some would say? (Waiting is not a bad idea by the way)

But we are still in panic mode trying our best and hope to God all these otherwise nice people don’t go to hell.

What work we do! What love for these people we must have! What commitment, zeal…and full of ourselves! What a waste of time! And God seems to be doing absolutely nothing unless we act!

Seems foolish to me, considering how weak and broken I am. So I am reminded of the foolishness of God which is still far wiser than mans wisdom. 1Cor. 1:25 Maybe we are missing something here.

Because yet another verse, which seems to contradict the first one, says, “No one can come unto the Father except through [Jesus]”. John 14:6

Stop the car! Pull over! Let’s pull this map out and read it again! First, we can’t go to Jesus unless the Father draws us to him, and we cannot go to the Father except through Jesus, whom we cannot go to unless the Father, (which we cannot access without Jesus) draws us to Jesus!! What gives?

If the only way we can access the Father is through Jesus and the only way we can access Jesus is from the Father invitation, then we can only assume we are already in contact with both, Father and Son! How? By the Holy Spirit that was sent by the Father through the Son!! NOW we see the connection! Because the Holy Spirit was sent to earth (and by default, to humanity) by Jesus, we are complete in Jesus if you understand that the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity as God, (Emanuel; God with us). This was done already a long time ago! There is nothing we can do! If we try to save people thinking they have no access, then we are bypassing what Jesus AND the Father AND the Holy Spirit has done already! We were not told that we can come to Jesus through evangelism, though by evangelism, we come into the knowledge of our existence in Christ.

Either we are already in Jesus because of what they did, or there is absolutely no hope for humanity: saints and sinners!

Now what is the evangelist to do? Or have we misunderstood what we are to do? We think we are called to save souls. Well, to a certain limit, yes, but for what, and for whom? It isn’t a matter of saving people from, but for. Isn’t our main priority to announce the Good News of God’s Kingdom which, if I’m not too far mistaken, Jesus is King of right now? If Jesus is the King of a Kingdom, then we can only assume there are subjects (citizens) of that Kingdom. And Jesus’ Kingdom includes all of humanity. So the real question is, what are we “saving” them, or better yet, leading to them understanding, for?

All we are called to do is to announce the Good News of this Kingdom and teaching all nations (peoples, who are already a part of this Kingdom) to observe and learn their role in this Kingdom! And to help people see who Jesus is, who they are in Jesus, and to help them receive (not get) the understanding (via Holy Spirit) and accept the “already done” into their daily lives.

Either we are going round and round trying to save people (just in case Jesus missed a few), or God has already resolved this circular puzzle.

May this circle be unbroken.

“Lord, please open our eyes to your Kingdom already at hand”