The Good, the Bad, and the Almighty

In our past post, we asked the probing question: Is God responsible for all circumstances in our lives, including the bad things? Many would say no, mainly because it seems to suggest God Himself is not that good of a guy. We wish to protect Him from such a charge, if not in the public arena, then at least in our own minds. We wish to keep Him limited to the good things.

Some may even quote scripture to back this claim. For example, it is Jesus that said, “The thief (devil) has come to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” This certainly speaks to God’s intention for humanity, and also the devil’s. But many take it to mean it speaks to His sovereignty, also. That is, when bad things happen, God is not responsible at all. That is, He had no say or part in it coming to pass. Such a view of God, though it may seem good, is very small. It makes Him out to be not so much supreme over all of creation, but instead powerless over a great part of creation.

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God is not in It

The Christian life — and by this I mean the true one, not the outward one where time is spent engaged in church activity — consists of a connection with the Spirit. This connection can ebb and flow, and when it ebbs, the goal is to draw close again. My goal is to be in constant contact with Jesus. That is the whole point of the Christian life.

I pause here because it is easy to nod and say “Yes” to such a statement but walk away with an entirely different understanding of what it means to be in contact with Jesus. It is easy to think of following Jesus in a metaphorical sense alone. As if to follow Him means to do what we think He would want us to do, or what we think He would do Himself, or even do what others who speak for God say we should do. And we call that “following Jesus.”

But such efforts will only drive us to utter boredom, emptiness, and most likely, a good deal of anxiety. This is because we weren’t designed to have a metaphorical relationship with Jesus; we were designed to have an actual relationship with Jesus, through the presence and Person of the Holy Spirit.

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Hiding under the Umbrella

Christianity is not about following the rules. But it is not about following no rules, either. Nor, following principles derived from Scripture that promise to achieve success in the Christian life. It is much simpler. It is about remaining. The quality of the Christian life rises and falls in relation to our ability to remain in the place Jesus has for us, a place that is not a concept or idea but a reality, more real in fact than the physical universe that surrounds us.

We have recently been discussing the voice of God and how it is is the only means of effectively living out the Christian life. It is God’s Spirit that that leads us into a place where all things are available to us.

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Defying Gravity

Last time, I shared a bit about my personal journey to understand what it means to remain in Jesus, and my coming to understand that when Jesus said “if you obey my commands,” he was not talking about obeying all that he taught which is recorded in the Bible (or even obeying the Bible itself) but rather obeying His voice. In fact, it is only by hearing and obeying God’s voice that we can ever move into the deeper abundant life Jesus promised.

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