“Do you mind if I give you my perspective?” He asked. I couldn’t help my self, I responded, “Well of course not, it’s the only one you have”. Literally our perspective is all we ever have. Even when it changes it is still our NEW perspective. We have never seen what we have not seen, and cannot know yet, what we have never learned. With this in mind, I want to give you my perspective on the deadliest branch of this Tree I have been writing about. (see last two posts).
We have already seen that we often focus on our knowledge of Evil as a problem. Our common response to this awareness is to jump over to the branch called the Knowledge of Good. The problem is, this is still the same tree, and still draws from the same root system. On the knowledge of Good branch, one of the most deadly sets of branches is the one that grows from the branch I titled “The Knowledge of God’s good”
The reason that this is so deadly, is that from this branch WE begin to manufcture what WE believe God wants from US. When WE do this WE can settle into a sort of smugness that WE are the ones who have it right. Frighteningly often the reason WE believe WE have it right is that it so suits US.
Let me illustrate.
On this branch, if you are particularly bent toward intellectualism you will gravitate toward a branch on this tree that is the MIND responding to the Knowledge of God’s good. People on this branch become convinced that right doctrine and study are the pathway to Life. Lesser intellectuals, or people with slightly differing doctrine in the non-essentials become heretics and heathen. The Deadly thing is the strong belief that God likes you better because you have the right Doctrine.
Also growing from this branch is a smaller branch called the branch of the WILL. Hangers on in this branch focus on the “rights” and “wrongs”, or the “do’s” and “don’ts”. To them insiders are the ones who hold to the same set of rules and regulations and if anyone has differing boundaries, you guessed it, they are Heretics and Heathen. The Deadly thing is the belief that God likes YOU better because you are following the right rules better than others.
A third branch off this wicked limb, is the branch of the EMOTIONS. On this branch our measure of our Godliness is determined by experience. I should be passionate. I should feel things when God is around. I emphasize chills and tears. Because I experience God, I know that I have it right. If you don’t experience Him the way that I do you must be, well, a heretic or a heathen. The deadly thing is the belief that God likes YOU better because your experience of God is superior to that of others.
These branches off the limb of our knowledge of God’s good, can be simply preferences of our soul. Our soul, is our Mind, Will and Emotions. When we adhere strongly to OUR particular branch,we may not even realize we have selected that branch because of the leanings of OUR soul, not because of the majesty of God. The intellectual can hide from his own heart in the dark recesses of his mind. The will-worshipper can mask his insecurity by performance . The overly emotional one can keep others at bay, with a constant flow of strong and overwhelming feelings.
Jesus said that we should Love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. Responding to God from every part of our being is something He wants from us. The problem is not that we respond out of our soul, the problem is that we initiate from the part of our soul that we are most comfortable with and avoid the parts we are uncomfortable with.
Initiating our response to God’s goodness out of OUR preferences can makes us smug and unbalanced. The intellectual should break down and weep at the beauty of God. The emotional one should be still and reverent. The rule follower should pick wheat or heal someone on the Sabbath.
I have occasionally heard one of my favorite speakers, Jack Taylor, say, in response to people who criticize a particualr worship style. “It’s OK, it’s not you we are worshipping anyway…”
Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, should never be about us camping out in our comfort zone, rather it should be about His Bigness and His Beauty stretching us OUT of our comfort zone.
Tune in to the Living Voice of the Living God. Expect to be UNcomfortable, He loves us enough to not leave us where we are today. Think, Feel, Dance, Live. And do it in plain sight.