A few years ago I wrote an article titled "A Few Degrees Off" for my "Pondering the Journey" series. The gist of it was how far off base we can become when we start our life-journey with a simple truth that is practiced or presented in a way that sets the compass just a little off. So it was with my journey.
I got "saved" and was immediately instructed to begin memorizing scriptures. Nothing wrong with that. I mean, how can anyone who desires to know God and follow Him argue with memorizing scriptures? But there was something not quite right. What if all we learn and take away, as I did, are lifeless laws and wooden words and miss the journey of the amazing stories of God encounters?
For me, the Book became merely a collection of scriptures. It was several decades before I realized it was a collection of stories of real people attempting to find a real God in the midst of real life. And life was and is a series of experiences--a few successes, a lot of failures and how we deal with a very relational God who desires to have life-infusing, two-way conversations.
I realized then that if we miss the stories, we'll never find the unfathomable love of God. I never knew, for instance, the depth of the story of God and Moses. Oh, I could quote the key scriptures surrounding the interaction of the two to prove my theology about God and man. But a story?
In Exodus 34 we find Moses desperate to know God, and God desperate for Moses to know Him. The Creator of the Universe tells this failure-of-a-man how to be successful, how to know Him, and how to become fully human the way he was intended to be. The words and story here--how God wants to impregnate all of mankind with His DNA--were never meant to become theological statements, but an ongoing, epic tale instilling hope and faith into a confused world.
Moses said "God, reveal yourself to me." And God answered, revealing His DNA, the unchanging character of I AM that I AM. "Look at it and then tell the people who I am so they will have a hope and a future." God, in His most awe-inspiring moment, began to show Himself to a murderer He had put His hand on, just as He desires to put His hand on each of us.
The Creator within us
The Creator slowly, painstakingly begins to describe what it means to have Him forever live, not only among us, but within us. He details the very nature of the Seed that He promises to impregnate us with, not in a natural way but, as Nicodemus would find out generations later, in a most supernatural way. And all this thousands of years before He sends the One to display the mystery and the availability of the Seed.
According to this story that crosses across testaments and supercedes any theology, God says that we can imitate Him if we'll let Him change us from within. It will take a supernatural birth. But when the Seed is planted, when we are impregnated, the world will know that something has happened to us.
Religion says, "Do this and do that." Even more, it says, "Don't do this and don't do that." God says, "Be this and be that because My Seed is in your spirit. We will journey together and I will point out where you have missed the mark. Your desires will begin to shift from pleasing yourself to pleasing me. And here is how you can please me. Be like I am. Act like I act."
God revealed to Moses the secret, the mystery of transformation. We take on His nature and must become like Him because the essence and character of God now dwells within us. "I am compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, merciful, truthful, covenantally faithful and forgiving," God told Moses. "That is how I want to be represented among the people. I want them to know Me that way. And if that is who I am, then that is how those who represent me must be."
Because our focus frequently has become more on theological certainty than relational faithfulness, we have become a generation that can hurl so-called truths at one another but cannot live life with one another. Yet, in our relations to man, whether a friend, a stranger or enemy, God calls us to reveal His character, to take on His very nature.
The Book is the love story of the ages. God tells Moses that He is Jealous for Him, not of him. God wants all of His love. And He tells us today that all He wants is for us to see, feel, hear, touch, taste this amazing love and love Him back.
How do we love like that? Not by theology or the law, but by Agape, By the germination and bursting forth of the Seed in us which is centered on pleasing the Father, expressing itself by doing good to our neighbors, strangers, and our enemies. Simply put, it is letting the Seed within begin the journey of daily transformation of a spirit that will eventually transform even the mind, soul and body.
Too many people today know us to be followers of God because of the scripture we quote and the theology we defend. It's time they recognize us as Christ followers because we are troublemakers with only one concern: to please the Father and allow the DNA of His Seed to grow and mature. Let us be known as "those people" who are compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, merciful, covenantally faithful, forgiving, and therefore, so, so rich in agape.
Can that really take place in our lives? Indeed. It's about a Seed, a supernatural Seed and being supernaturally impregnated from above. God, in His greatest mystery, will transform us in a moment and begin a journey to mature the Seed. It will be a journey back to the beginning of the story of the ages.
And because change is inevitable, I, for one, would rather sit on my porch with a neighbor sharing a love story than convincing them of my theological uncertainty.
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