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It’s About Pursuit…Potential…Passion… July 16, 2015

 

Do you ever wrestle with circumstances or people who do not make sense or align with your theological foundation, moral values, or codes of conduct?  What is interesting is that over the years, life has pushed me deeper into those wrestling matches.  “How am I gonna fit THAT into my paradigms?” And, “how is that working for me?”

Apparently as a younger man of faith, I felt as though my newfound clarity and wisdom about life and God somehow entitled me to do His job at times.  When meeting someone of different, even divergent doctrinal positions than mine, I could easily just shut down and wouldn’t give them the time of day.   No time for nonsense, besides, I know when people are off base.  I would not even think to know them, or their story.  I don’t have the time for “them.” It is way too easy to simply judge people and their beliefs, right?  There are more important things to do.

What is fascinating to me is that when Jesus walked the earth, he actually spent more time publicly connecting with the outcasts and the religiously confused/divergent than he did with those who already had it together with strong faith, beliefs, and ministries.  Not to mention, Jesus spent considerable time reminding religious leaders how “off” their practices and beliefs really were.  To think we have it all together is a good indication that we actually have much to learn.

In the stories Jesus taught about loving others, he would regularly challenge people through his parables.  In the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37, we need to remember that the Samaritan was basically a spiritual outcast, and despised by the Jews.  Yet, Jesus expressed to us that to “love our neighbors” was about compassion for all people, to all people, from all people.  Was Jesus suggesting that helping someone whose beliefs weren’t aligned with ours, could honor His commands and express Kingdom love?  Ponder that challenging curveball from the King.  Then, when we realize the Levite and the Priest missed their chance by overlooking their neighbor… that should shake us up a bit.

Wisdom is a personal pursuit and a prayer of mine, but I am reminded that it is not so much about the details of our beliefs, but rather the life (story) we live-out applying those beliefs. This application is an invitation and ultimately a demonstration of Jesus in us.  Following Jesus with any level of intimacy results in an active relationship and discovering our Kingdom invitation, our intended destiny!

Engaging with our neighbors is a clear indication of what I call kingdom activation.  Would you say it is true that our goal as Christians is salvation or kingdom activation?  There are many obstacles, circumstances and distractions which detract us (kill, steal, destroy) our destiny with Jesus.  A topic for another day.  Yet, our biggest obstacle in my estimation is F E A R.  Fear of others, being wrong, awkwardness, pain, rejection.  The list is long.  We must battle against our fears.  The #1 repeated command in all of scripture:  “Fear not!”   According to Lloyd Ogilvie there are 366 “fear not” verses in the Bible – one for each day of the year, including one for leap year.

The life of Jesus includes deep prayer and fasting driven by compassion.  He welcomed and healed people with serious personal, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual issues.  Need I also mention His incredible life of sacrifice?  He didn’t just understand who God is, and just talk and teach about it; Jesus lived it out for us as a model and mentor.  People seeing Jesus in our life will speak louder than our words ever will.  So, how is Jesus fitting into our daily life?  Do we need to make any changes?  What are we afraid of? How is Jesus reflected in our current pursuits and passions?

Keep the fire, restore your passions, believe in your potential and trust God.  LOVE will lead you.

 

susan

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