Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Week Four - Distance

Beside the Well
      Last year I read Relationships, a Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp.  It is a good book on facing and working through difficult relationships and the importance of dealing in a healthy way with issues that arise in order to come out with a good marriage and some friends in life.   
            The authors wrote, “The reality our imagination embraces is the reality we will live by.”*  To me, these are just words that paraphrase Proverbs 23:7  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  No real depth of knowledge here, but it did spur me to think about what reality was governing my life. 
            There are quizzes you can take that claim they reveal your opinion of God.  When I take them they usually reveal I believe God has better things to do than attend to me.  I seem to view Him as a distant, but loving Father who only comes when I call.  We could surmise I had an absentee father.  I did not.  He came home from work every night for supper and was there at the breakfast table every morning.  We did loads of hobbies and fun things together.  Valuable time could be wasted on getting to the bottom of my thoughts here, but the bottom is exactly where it would bring us, so let’s move on.
            I know God is not actually passive, but am I living as if He were?  Are my imaginations causing me to live outside truth?                      
            The authors went on to say, “If we are not captured by the truth of living in a deeply personal relationship with God, we will shrink our expectations and dreams down to the size of our own selfish wants, desires, and strategies.” **
            What?  If I leave God as passive I will be living below God’s desire for my life?  I’m living selfishly and independently? It isn’t a matter of thinking I am being humble or meek, but a lack of faith and trust, a lack of a fully developed relationship?  That’s not what I want.  I don’t want to shrink God down to fit my tiny life.
            They didn’t leave it there.  “Their view of God’s passivity was a principal ingredient in their abiding hopelessness.” ***
            Oh, wow!  That is what I often feel—hopeless.  I hear my inner voice saying, “You are a waste of time.  All you try to achieve is just senseless activity. No one really cares about the things you care about.”  I struggle to stay out of that pit!  I even have strategies for climbing out!
            I stared at the page and tried to imagine life in a deeply personal relationship.  I don’t have many of those with which to compare.  I came to realize nearly all of my relationships are passive and distant.  
            “Exactly.”  I heard the Spirit say.  “You keep yourself at a distance.  Why not just open up and allow room for your Heavenly Father to love you, accept you, and create a new image in your mind?  One that will give you the ability to love others more deeply and bring greater value to your life?”
            On my knees I went confessing my tiny estimation of God and seeking forgiveness for inhibiting His Spirit and keeping Him at a distance.
            Then, God flooded my heart with more truth. He works for me, for my good, continually.  He is the lifter up of my head.  With Him, all things are possible.  Hope filled my heart and I went away with a renewed passion and a start on a deeper and more personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.
            What about you?  Do you view God is distant and passive?  Do you often feel hopeless?  Do you spiritually live on your own and only call on God when you can’t figure things out for yourself? 
            He invites you to a personal relationship.
            Jeremiah 33:3  “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
            Jeremiah 29:13 “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
            Acts17:27  “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.”

Lane, Tim S. and Tripp, Paul, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, New Growth Press, 2006, Grand Rapids, MI
*page 161
**page 161

***page 162

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