Thursday, July 21, 2011

God's Thoughts Are No Longer Just His, They Are Ours Too

We know a lot about Yahweh but the more we learn the more we know we don't know. There is much that remains a mystery about our God. We know his heart, the promises he has made and kept and we know that he loves us with a love we struggle to emulate but that leaves us with a lot of why's. Why does he love us? Why does he even bother with us? Why didn't he just wipe us out and start over again? Why does he forgive and forget? Why does he work through us, such an imperfect people?

I think that is one of the greater mysteries: why does God tie his will to our actions and prayers? A simple example of this is after Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ, the son of God. Jesus turned to Peter and prophetically spoke of what was to follow, the Church. Peter had demonstrated the faith of Abraham when he simply believed God. This is what Jesus said about the Church:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

For those who think he was literally speaking to Peter this incredible promise, I refer you to a couple of chapters later where Jesus is dealing with the matter of church disciple and forgiveness. He states to all his followers:

I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

And if that was not enough of a mystery, God tying himself to our prayers, Jesus adds this little bit:

Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:19-20)

This is one incredible relationship we have with our God. The problem comes when we don't believe it. It is more comfortable for us to leave God in heaven doing his thing and us on earth doing our thing. We would rather just live our lives and have the freedom to blame God for all the big stuff that is happening in the world. We would rather be able to turn around and accuse God of not protecting us, of not preventing things, of not fulfilling his promises. But the truth is, all we have to do is ask.

The simplicity of it is often too much for us. We want to believe that God is God and man is man, that he is beyond us and that we have nothing to do with his will. But we forget that we are a new creation. At one time we were separated from God but not any more. Now we have the privilege of knowing the mind of Christ, the will of God, and our Father has called us into partnership with him. One of my favorite passages use to be Isaiah 55:8,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

But that is not true any more because our condition has changed and we are no longer just born of the flesh but have experienced a new birth and are now also born of the Spirit. Jesus said:

You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:14-16)

Important bit there; he no longer calls us servants because a servant does not know his masters business, but we do. We know our master's business because we are  not longer at a distance, we are no longer mere servants. We serve but we serve as friends. He has called us his friends. More than that, we are family because Jesus became the first born of many so that we are now called the children of God. We can learn from the Old Testament but we no longer live there because we are a new creation in a new relationship with God.

There are many in the Church who want to deny this because it washes their hands of any responsibility but that fact is we are responsible. We are responsible and we will have to give an account of what we have or have not done in this new relationship. Those who claim to not know the will of the Father are people who just didn't bother to find out. Instead of getting more intimate with God they held off, treating the relationship as a thing of academics, making sure God stays in his place and we in ours. They completely miss the point of Jesus becoming like us, giving us such incredible authority and bringing us into this mysterious relationship. Why would God do this? I have no idea, unless it is for training purposes.

The best thing a father can do is keep his children close, involve them in everything he does, teaching them as they go along, having them help even when he doesn't need their help. We may be busy doing God's business in other people's lives but I think it is us, his children who benefit the most from it. Don't fall for the false notion that we have nothing to do with God's will. We do as he works it out through us. Our most important role is to become even more intimate with him so that we will not be mistaken about his will. It is what Jesus has called us to, to know the Father's will and to do it. He has given us the authority to speak blessings into people's lives, to seek their healing, to seek provision for them, to cover them in forgiveness, to fight for the salvation of their souls. It is an incredible truth but a truth nonetheless, we are partners with our Father in his business and our greatest desire should be to do his will. We are responsible for the authority we have been given. Choose to be intimate with him today.

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