Speaking of which, I remember driving to College one day back in 1996 and seeing an elderly gentleman making his way along with his walker. Me being the smart one says to God – “See!! There’s something you never experienced! Old age!!” to which he promptly replied “Terri, I’m the one they call Ancient of Days.” Touché. I laughed.
I was listening to Dallas Willard this morning speaking on “Finding the Kingdom of God Now“. He’s a wise man that one. I love listening to him speak, it’s like listening to a friend of God. Nice. He said that “our aim is not to do the things that Jesus said to do, but to become the type of people who do those things naturually.” I like that. It is the point I expect.
While mowing the lawn I was listening to one of The God Journey Podcasts entitled “Accept no Substitutes” in which Wayne says “the problem is not that the system, or whatever the thing that we’re depending on exists, the problem is that people don’t know Jesus real enough, so that the system or whatever isn’t needed” meaning that often we’re looking for ‘some-thing’ (church, leader, pastor, community) rather than Someone. Brad goes on to say that he believes that if we let Him, “God will take us through a period of perhaps ‘loneliness’ so that we stop looking to find in others, what we’re ultimately supposed to find in Him.” Then, we can share that with others. Otherwise this stuff becomes idolatrous, we look to others to be to us, what only God can be. We need to realign our orientation.
I love it. It let’s others (and ourselves) ‘off the hook’. Our expectations of others and their’s of us become superfluous. We stop looking to others to ‘be God‘ to us, and allow them to live their lives seeking Jesus while we live ours doing the same, together. It frees us up to love others for who they are rather than what they can do for us. It also prevents us from using ‘love’ itself as a commodity (as Don Miller says in Searching for God Knows What), we will no longer withhold love from others because they’ve let us down or not fulfilled our expectations. We’ll be free to love them unconditionally. Nice.
It also means that there are no longer any excuses for our own shortcomings. We can’t blame others for not teaching us/spending time with us/praying for us etc etc. It puts the emphasis and responsibility of our own discipleship right back where it should be – on us.
Our relationship with Father isn’t something that we should be depending on others to cultivate for us. It also means that we have to start reading the scriptures for ourselves, spending time to hear God’s voice for ourselves, finding time to worship him in song for ourselves – basically be deliberate about our faith and not rely soley on an institution (i.e. Sunday services) to further our relationship with God.