Seeking God’s truth matters. Embracing God’s truth matters. Holding onto God’s truth when you think others are denying it matters. However, it’s not as simple as “This is the truth. I know it’s true. And so it is God’s truth – no ifs, ands or buts.” And the reason it’s not this simple is the reality that we call sin. I’m not talking about the sin of others. I’m talking about our sin – yours and mine. Sin can do lots of very destructive things in our dealings with truth. Mostly, however, it can turn our righteous desire to seek God’s truth into a self-righteous exercise in which we diminish others, demonize others and destroy others because – when we are the guardians of the truth – well, anything’s justified. That’s why I do my best (too often failing, of course) to use a very simple exercise. I ask myself, “What if I don’t have it right?” This doesn’t change my quest for seeking and speaking God’s truth. It does, however, usually humble me enough to help me make sure I’m focusing on God’s truth and not my truth that I’m trying to disguise as God’s truth.
Grace is at the heart of our faith. We celebrate and welcome it. But there’s something you need to know about grace. You don’t get to regulate it, partaking only that part with which you are comfortable. God’s grace is all consuming. It is unconditional and at work before you know it. It sears your soul, convicting you that you cannot do life on your own because you always turn away from God, others and yourself. It invites you into a saving relationship with Jesus that you absolutely need, but can never attain on your own. It grows in your life through the Holy Spirit, transforming you with divine love until you are the person God created you to be. So welcome grace in every way you can. But be prepared for it to take over your life.
I am aware – now more than ever before in my life – how easy it is to become so enthralled with the things in life that I mistakenly think they are life.
So in the midst of the craziness all around that threatens to overwhelm me, help me stay centered in Jesus. As I am tempted to make the latest technology the altar of my life, help me stay centered in Jesus. When I think that political activism will bring in Your Kingdom, help me stay centered in Jesus. During those moments when I become self-righteously judgmental, help me stay centered in Jesus.
May my life, hope, desires, identity, joy, mind, soul, heart, actions and very being be centered in Jesus, in whose name, spirit and power I pray.
All great spiritual giants have experienced seasons when they felt distant from God. Many have even talked about their own ‘dark night of the soul’. When you feel that God is absent in your life, it can be very tempting to go into fix-it mode to find God. But you can never find God, regardless of how hard you try. Then again, you don’t need to. God already has found you – regardless of who you are, or what you’ve done or not done. Your life’s work is to address the things in your life that blind your vision, impair your hearing, harden your heart or distract your will so that you can experience the reality of God’s closeness. Your life’s vocation is to trust more and more that the fullness of God’s grace in Jesus Christ is sufficient in all things as you journey through life.
Some days you can handle a whole series of setbacks, disruptions and pain with no trouble at all. Other days you struggle to hang on if even one troublesome thing occurs. What’s the difference? Your thoughts. This is why Paul’s words from his letter to the Romans are so helpful. They remind you it’s your mind that decides how to interpret what happens to you and not the events themselves. “Live under the control of the Holy Spirit. If you do, you will think about what the Spirit wants. The thoughts of a person ruled by sin bring death. But the mind ruled by the Spirit brings life and peace.” (Romans 8:5-6 NRIV) So remember this when things get tough today: Inviting the Holy Spirit to shape your mind will make all the difference in the world about what kind of day – and life – you have.