I asked someone a question recently & when they replied, I asked, “Is that the real answer or the right answer?” When I asked this question, it began to circulate in my mind & I wondered how many times I give the right answer but maybe not always the real answer. I know what I’m supposed to say, so I give the right words. And I do this because I know that the “real words” could be challenging not only to hear, but also to speak. It’s very wonderful when both the real & right words are the same!
I’m grateful to realize that God can help us grow & change such that our real words can also be the right words more & more!
Just a little friendly food for thought on this nice Monday 🙂
Do you ever say things & then you have to do them? This morning, I posted on FB something about being quick to forgive & slow to judge. Sure enough, I had an opportunity to practice those words not too long after I posted that. Blech.
I wonder if the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us stuff that’s going to happen before hand, so that when it happens our attitudes and thoughts are ready to have the Fruit of the Spirit operational, rather than the works of the flesh. Let’s make it our goal to stay
How we treat people reflects what we think about them on the inside. So if we treat the barista like an extension of the espresso machine, then we’re thinking of them in terms of an object rather than a living human. This happens alot when we get in transactional modes of interaction & neglect to see the person with whom we’re interacting.
When we try to change someone: correcting their attitudes, challenging their political opinions, getting them closer to Jesus, making them “better”; let’s be careful that we’re not treating them like a “project“. The exceptions to this concern can be the parent, teacher or mentor roles, all of which are most affective when we perceive the recipient of our input as a human & not merely a project.
I think what made Jesus so entirely irresistable by the masses of humanity, when He walked on the earth, is that He interacted with everyone with authenticity, genuine love and sincere interest. He engaged with each individual as a person, not as a project nor object. This is what happens when we interact with others from the place of genuine love rather than manipulation, achievement or domination. Let’s allow our lives to remain in genuine love so that our interactions with others resound with redemption & reconciliation!
Seriously, the enemy of your soul wants to deceive and steal your identity every second of your life & often we are totally clueless to these efforts. It’s his oldest trick from the beginning with Adam & Eve. This book by my friend Robby is super helpful & brand new!!
I’d also strongly encourage you to buy: Do What Jesus Did Also by Robby & totally a blast!!
When Jesus rose from the dead, there were all kinds of speculations as to what happened to Him. Indeed, the first person to see Him after His resurrection thought He was a common gardener. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, initially they thought He was a scary ghost. On the road to Emmaus, some of His followers thought He was a fellow traveler. It seems to me that we often try to fit Jesus into our known paradigms rather than change our thinking to fit Who Jesus is.
When I think about Who Jesus is & what He did, I’m reminded that He defied the religious conventions of His day:
He purposely healed on the Sabbath in front of the religious leaders, creating havoc & chaos in their doctrinal dogma
He upended the daily temple traffic, displaying anger & hostility at the distorted expression worship had become
He challenged Nicodemus’ thinking about God’s kingdom and sprung on him the crazy idea about being born again
He condemned the religious to forgive the broken and defeated: the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus by the religious leaders whom He forgave
Let’s be careful that our ideas of Jesus conform to the Gospels and not merely man’s religious dogma 🙂
We do alot of our shopping at Walmart because it’s cheap, close and convenient. The quality, however, can sometimes be a little questionable. For example, when I buy socks for my boys, I’ve learned that if I buy them from Walmart, I’ll usually have to buy 2-3 times the number of socks (holes, rips, etc) as if I buy a higher quality & little costlier brand from a different store. Consumer grade socks for my boys from Walmart usually have a pretty short lifespan in the world of boy socks 🙂
Unfortuanately, I think we sometimes treat Christianity with the same level of function. We want cheap, close and convenient: Jesus in the manger, candle light service in less than an hour, the cross, tomb, July 4th and the next thing. With this kind of thinking, it’s not a surprise that someone could easily be disillusioned, misled and / disappointed with the consumer grade version of Christianity, if such a thing really exists.
So here are some thoughts to consider:
does your faith facilitate more function from or attachment with Jesus?
is your faith in Jesus based on consumption, sacrifice and / or transformation?
is Jesus an accessory or a necessity in your life?
maybe consumer grade Christianity is only a Satan contrived deception to the authentic, daily and life-changing relationship with Jesus that will most certainly include sacrifice, fertilizer and resurrection 🙂
My son recently dissected a sheep’s heart & proceeded to tell us about his adventure on the way home from school. I can’t say that I was very enamored with his descriptions, even though he clearly learned alot. He was using words like ventricle, aorta, chamber & some others that I’ve forgotten. He thought that studying the sheep’s heart was cool – a unique look on the inside of how something important works.
How God has designed us on the inside (beyond our biological makeup) is extremely important. Don’t be discouraged when you’re not like someone else – you have a unique heart! Remember that you’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139) in the image of your Creator (Gen 1:26) with a wonderfully distinct bend for greatness that no one else has. Let the greatness that God has put inside you be the outside expression of who you really are.
Check this out for some really good stuff about being you!
Have you ever found a blouse or shoes that you fell in love with, but were disappointed because they didn’t have your size? I hate it when I can’t find my size in clothes or shoes that I really like! I’m not much of a shopping junkie so if & when I find something that I really like, its an even greater disappointment when I can’t find my size. Sometimes, I’ve bought the item in the wrong size, thinking that I could fix it somehow to fit properly. It never works out when I get the wrong size, no matter how hard I try.
This is true for us with God & who He has made us to be. At various times in our lives, we wish that we were different than who we are. Sometimes, I wish I was more like my mom. Sometimes, I wish I was more like other people whom I respect. But when I have tried to be someone other than who God has made me to be, its like trying to wear clothes that don’t fit. Life gets uncomfortable. This is kind of like when David was preparing to fight Goliath & he put on Saul’s armor – it didn’t fit & was uncomfortable. Maybe this armor would have gotten in his way with his sling – we don’t know. But this much is true, when we try to be someone other than who God has made us to be, then we’ll never successfully achieve God’s destiny and purpose for our lives. I’m supposed to be Sarah and not Marilyn. You’re supposed to be you and not someone else. The only person we’re supposed to imitate is Jesus. Make the decision to wear what fits & to grow in grace through the work of the Holy Spirit. 🙂
The word, “father” evokes lots of feelings, emotions, thoughts & responses. Unfortunately, because we’re finite & don’t have unlimited understanding, we take our experiences & project them onto other things & relationships – be that good or bad. This can be a problem when you consider that when Jesus teaches us how to pray, He tells us to address God as our Father. Notice that Jesus did not say to address the 1st person of the Trinity as: boss / employer, best friend, roommate, master, slave driver, etc. Jesus tells us to address the person we pray to as our Father in heaven.
Furthermore, I believe that there are a few reasons why our relationship with our heavenly Father can get dysfunctional based on the parable of the prodigal’s son. Consider that both sons didn’t have a very healthy relationship with their father. The prodigal’s relationship with his father lacked intimacy because the son was selfish. The older son’s relationship with his father was dysfunctional because he didn’t even see his father as his dad – consider how he describes his interaction with his dad in Luke 15:29; this doesn’t sound alot like a father / son relationship.
So when you address your heavenly Father, is there some dysfunction you could possibly be projecting onto your relationship with Him? What might this be & could God be wanting to help you make some healthy adjustments so that your interaction with Him is more authentic? Feel free to leave comments / thoughts. 🙂