Sunday, October 09, 2011

Trash god

 "Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me.".

That's from the 14th chapter of the book of John. It's Jesus speaking. He's saying "Know me and you’ll know the Father you’ve been dealing with since the earth was created. He is in me. I’m in Him. Believe in me. Trust me on this. I am the road, the way. So believe in me. Trust me."

And in that 'ask' we are presented with a problem.

We struggle with trusting Jesus because, for most ... He's a stranger. We know about God but don't know Him. We don't know the 'me' we're supposed to be trusting and believing in. Why?

I'm guessing we're too busy creating God in our image and likeness instead of being shaped by Him. And so we have a culture filled with all kind of fake gods. There's a Republican god, a Tea Party god, a Democratic god, a rich god, a social justice god, a liberal god, a conservative one and a god who we expect to chase and fetch just like a dog. We have a god that we want to ratify any decision we make, a god of blessing and not sacrifice. But it’s not the real god. It’s a caricature of the real thing. We bow to little gods who look remarkably like us, are safe and controllable and who never ask us to adjust our thinking or our lifestyle. We're so busy with these itsy bitsy little gods that we don't have time to focus our attention on the real deal.

The gods we create are ultimately untrustworthy. I think we know that we can’t really put our faith and trust in them but we do anyway. And when we do, we get mad when they disappoint us because they aren’t up to the big challenges we face.  And then, so many of us, try to blame the real God because he didn’t rescue us from the consequences of our actions. Go figure.

"Believe in me", Jesus says. "Trust me."  It’s God beckoning us to intimacy I think. Real intimacy.

So how do we get there. Let me suggest two important steps.

1. Crush the itsy bitsy little gods that have replaced the real god in your life. Seriously, just trash them. They are just idols. Honest, your political god can't heal the ache in your heart.  Neither can your economic god. Neither can the one who tells you it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you believe in something. Nope. Trash those gods.

2. Search for the real God.  Make it an authentic search. I'd urge you to start by rediscovering Jesus and in the process rediscover yourself.  And the starting point is the New Testament.  Read it with the intent of falling in love with the real God, not the caricature. In the process you'll a lot about yourself. Eugene Peterson says "the bible reads us as we read it." It reveals things about ourself and it reveals to us the personality and work of God.

And then daily give as much as you know about yourself to as much as you know about Jesus and pray for the desire to grow in your understanding of yourself and this good God who loves you so much.

As you grow in your understanding of yourself and of God you might start to notice some gaps between who you are and what you’re sensing God wants to do in your life. We need to pay attention to those gaps. That's where God wants to do his work in our lives.

Author and speaker Margaret Feinberg does something interesting as she travels around. Quite often she’ll ask a complete stranger, her Muslim taxi cab driver, the president of a big corporation, priests, rabbis, and just regular folks this one question. ... “What do you love about Jesus?” Just about everybody has something to say. And actually, most people are quite fond of Jesus not so fond of Christianity.

So this got me thinking if we are going to believe in and trust Jesus we can only do that if we know Him. Describe him. Sense him. Feel him. It’s about the relationship. So, here’s the question. What do you love about Jesus?

My hunch is once you discover the real Jesus believing and trusting in Him will change your life and it will make it easier to trash those little itty bitty gods you serve.  Then watch out.  You'll be a force to be reckoned with.