Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Getting What You've Got
Think of someone who bugs you. You know, someone who really gets under your skin and makes you want to do, well, something. Maybe a really good yell would be enough. Maybe not. And now, compare that person’s effect on your personal bug-o-meter with how God affects you on that same scale. Who wins?
For me, it’s God—hands down.
I’m not really complaining, though it might seem that way. People bug me and I want to whop them or get away from them so they can bug someone else. And, sure, sometimes I’ll get introspective and try to figure out why people bug me, and what that means about me, bugged as I am. That’s about as far as it goes.
But when God bugs me, when He begins prodding me, I know it’s toward something He wants for me, something eternal, something designed specifically by Him for me. Something He knows I cannot do without. “In order to go further, Ralph, you’re going to have to get this. Do you feel the pressure? How about the nagging disappointment? Is dissatisfaction haunting you? Good! You’ve been on a path that has kept you from what I have given you; it’s time you got it.”
To be clear, what God has given me is Himself. There’s nothing better that I’ve ever found, and no goal is better or higher than finding the way to know and enjoy Him. It’s where I belong, it’s where I fit and it’s how I live. It’s like I’m home when I’m knowing Him. But so much gets in the way, so much seems bent on deceiving me into believing there is another way for me to live, a way that’s better, a way that will get me what I want. Like there’s something I want more than God.
What I’m getting at is something I want to write and talk about for the next, oh, twelve years. It’s that important. Here it is:
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Rom. 7:6)
God thinks that the change He has made for you and to you is radical and complete. He thinks that, at the cross, He got rid of the rulebook that, while commanding us how we must live, always was against us. We must not attempt to follow it anymore—He’s not involved! Neither should you be. He has made you new and alive, and has birthed you into a new way of life—by the Spirit. That’s for the rest of your days; it’s now and it’s yours. It’s your new normal. This was His triumph at the cross! (Col 2:13-15)
An essential ingredient in this new way of living by the Spirit is that you believe it’s for you and that you thirst. That might sound trivial, yet until we’re convinced that life by the Spirit is our new normal, we’ll be seduced into dabbling at it. And that will hurt. That’s where frustration lives.
So at the risk of seeming self-serving, read my book. There’s way too much in there for you to miss, way too much explanation about what God has done for you and to you so you can grow in life by the Spirit. If you haven’t read it, get it—at no cost if you like. It will help you on the way to where we're going.
For this next season I’m going to be concerned not so much with what happened to you by God, but how to shake off the deceitful web of this world and get going in your inheritance—the riches of life by God. God Himself is what you want.
He’s yours. Let’s get Him.