Thursday, January 2, 2014

What Control?

John 3:8
"The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

I live with bipolar people.  If you live with people under the age of 18, you know what I am talking about.  My kids are completely unpredictable.  On any given day my four year olds taste buds can radically alter over the course of a single meal.  Yesterday he asked for more chicken nuggets to eat.  So, we bought him the same Tyson brand dinosaur shaped ones he likes.  Today, he decided that they were too meaty and he began to cry because he didn't want them.....  Every single toy he sees is accompanied by this line(word for word), "But I have always wanted "that" toy."  We have never heard of it before, but apparently he has spent 4 years pining for just that thing....

So what do we do as parents?  We deal with what is in front of us.  He is 4.  You will not logically argue him into accepting that he did indeed request this specific food item less than 12 hours earlier.  He feels the way he feels and that is all there is.  No, we are not permissive, we just don't try to "understand" how crazy it seems to us.  As he, AND WE, mature in our relationship together we will begin to understand ourselves and each other better.  Perhaps even before he graduates from college.

This section(chapter 3) of John has some of the most quoted parts of all of scripture.  Who can forget good ole John 3:16?  This is also the "born again" section that is most popular in the evangelical world that I like to run in.  You know what we often don't quote or address?  The unpredictable nature of the Spirits work(like the wind). 

We like to wrap God and His work up in a nice little box that we can understand and therefore, manipulate, to our ends.  Nicodemus is a leading Pharisee(read; really good at doing legalistic things) and he has come during the cover of darkness to talk to Jesus because he actually gets who Jesus is.  But he goes back to the same well;  "What can I do to understand and dictate the terms of this thing you are teaching me"(my paraphrase).

We pray to get things.

We fast to bring about change.

We read the bible to show our piety.

And then we get really frustrated when things aren't working out just like we were hoping.

Here is a big idea for us:  Only God is God.

This crazy and illogical behavior of ours is so destructive.  We pray for God to come to us instead of us running to where He is.  Don't get me wrong.  Pray pray pray.  Seek seek seek.  But we try to create and control formulaic Christianityism(TM).  Our Ego Centric worldview wants to see everything through the lens of our experience and what we want and how we feel.  A Christ centric worldview tells us that we are a bunch of sinful and depraved idiots who really shouldn't be relying on our own judgment. 

Have you ever been following a car that knows where they are going in a place you have never been?  Don't you panic just a bit when you lose them at a turn or a red light?  Of course you do.  Because you know that left to your own devices you really aren't gong to get where you NEED to be.

We want to try so hard to do it ourselves.  And that is rooted in self centered pride.  The wind is going to blow where it is going to blow.  You can't predict it.  You can't dictate to it.

But you can follow where it is blowing.   

Jesus tells Nicodemus that there is nothing in his flesh that can pull off the miraculous transformation of new life in the Spirit.  It is God's work, not ours. 

So here you stand.  Something is wrong.  Something is not right.  And you have been trying so hard to pull yourself back up and right the train.  Stop.  Just stop.  The work that you and I desperately need to have done is that which we cannot do.  You can fight against the wind all you want, but you will never break it.  Run with it.  Let it lift you up.  Change you and give you light feet.

Stop buying the lie of what you need to do and what you need to change.  You can't do it.  We need a new life.  One free of the shackles and chains that bind us. 

We MUST pray to be shaped by the things of God

We MUST fast to prepare our hearts to run hard after His plans

We MUST read the bible so we can learn to recognize the work of the Spirit through knowing God with an ever increasing intimacy. 

There is no formula for a new life in Christ that you can apply like some sort of medicinal balm.  Stop fighting the work of the Spirit.  Let God do His work in you.

This is what you look like when you don't go with the wind.
And it doesn't feel good either.

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