God Colored Glasses

I often wonder if other people go through the same things I go through. My first reaction is of course not. No one could possibly struggle with what I struggle with. I’m a horrible time manager, I get frustrated with my kids too quickly, I’m not thoughtful enough with my wife, I worry every day over the magnitude of my job as a minister, I don’t pray nearly enough or have enough devotional time with my family, my faith often grows shallow, I could go on. I’m mean, who could possibly struggle with all these things (except me)? Everyone around me seems to have it together so much better than I do. I think that’s Satan working on me. Well, actually, I’m convinced those thoughts are Satan working on me. And because I’m convinced of that, I feel compelled to share some of these thoughts.

I’m not the only one who thinks there’s no one else as bad as me. I think everyone else sometimes thinks there’s no one else like me. Isn’t that Satan’s trick though? What could isolate me faster from God than thinking He couldn’t possibly want me? I mean, I know I couldn’t be any further away from being worthy of His love. But that doesn’t hurt me. Understanding that fact is a good thing. I hurt myself when I start thinking that God must be completely fed up with my act and want nothing to do with me anymore because I am can’t get it together.

But that’s the whole point! No one’s got it together. On our own, we’re all so far removed from God’s glory. We’re in that boat together. Perhaps the most wonderful realization that I have ever come to is that God doesn’t see me the way I see myself. I often think about the love I have for my children. Each one of them is perfect to me, absolutely perfect. Now I know that they are far from perfect. But when I see them as their Daddy, I don’t see their mistakes or their flaws. I see their purity, I see their beauty, I see all their potential just waiting to be realized, I see a perfect little gift that God gave Molly and I and I can’t help but love them.

That’s what God sees when He looks at me and you. In His eyes we’re perfect and pure and beautiful with all the potential in the world to do great things for Him, simply and only because he sees us through glasses that Jesus made for Him.

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God Unites where we have Divided

The past few years have been quite a spiritual journey. I have been deeply questioning and challenging almost every assumption or truth that I held on to. I’ve really been trying to come to a deeper and more accurate understanding of God’s Word and desire for my life. It’s been a road full of pot-holes and detours. But, now that I’ve begun the journey, I know it will last the rest of my life. My only regret is that I waited so long to start it. Instead of pursuing God’s Truth I had spent so many years content to know man’s truth.

There have been many eye-opening moments. Many moments when I realized that my Truth needed realigning – almost like the wheels on my truck. And there has been a lot of times where I found that what I held to be true did match up with God’s Word. The more I come out on the other side, the more I realize how much better off and tremendously blessed I am with a deeper understanding of God and His revelation.

The two most significant areas of personal growth have come for me in my understanding of biblical doctrine and grace. During my formative years, man’s doctrine was strongly emphasized while the concept and idea of grace was being ignored. I should clarify, when I say “man’s doctrine” I really mean unscriptural teaching that man has adopted either from ignorance or choice and that has metastasized over time. Here’s an example (of the doctrine part) that I was just thinking about. For most of the few occasions that I recall holy spirit being taught there was always a fear to accept the truth of God’s Word. Because of this, the Holy Spirit was often presented as working only though the Bible. Well, that’s just not what the Bible teaches. (How could all those Christians receive the HS on the day of Pentecost if it would have done nothing for them until the Bible was created?)It’s probably not a coincidence that many of the folks I know who believe this way really don’t have an understanding of grace either.

Well, what’s been neat for me to discover is that God’s grace really does cover that misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit (along with all of our other misunderstandings). I know that Jesus’ blood is plenty thick enough to handle all the messes that I create. On the other side, so to speak, let’s say that God is totally and completely opposed to His people using instruments in worship. Does this mean that everyone who uses instruments is going to hell? I’m really asking. Is musical instruments a salvation issue? Many people believe that it is. Well, if it is, then misunderstanding (and teaching that misunderstanding) the work of the Holy Spirit is to. All sins are equal in God’s sight and a sinful worship practice is just as sinful as teaching false doctrine.

So where does it stop? When we all end up in hell? Because with this kind of reasoning we are completely invalidating the death of Christ and the only result is hell for everyone; because everyone is misunderstanding something. We can’t get it all right all of the time. Having said that, something has gone wrong when I have to come to a perfect understanding and practice of everything “religious” in my life. Isn’t that what Grace is for, to cover my mistakes?

This is what’s so awesome to me! God’s got a plan to take care of all of us sinful, mistake and misunderstanding prone Christ-followers. We all fit under the same umbrella – even the people who try to kick others out from under the umbrella. That what’s so neat. The people who mistakenly (i.e. sinfully) try to deny others the grace of God are covered by that very Grace. There’s room under that umbrella for all of us! We’re all stuck under there together, we may as well get along. 🙂

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