Thursday, May 8, 2008

Romper Room Update

A while back, I posted about an experiment our High School small group was conducting, trying to see others as Jesus sees them, and then treating them accordingly. Recently, we took a poll to see how the guys are doing with this project, and candidly, the results were mixed... seems it's pretty hard to do this on a consistent basis. My take is that the enemy plants lots of lies about the difficulty and how hard it is to be successful. And the battle continues!

In March, we modified the challenge to the group: We moved from seeing others as Jesus sees them to seeing OURSELVES as Jesus sees us... and then treating ourselves accordingly. This seems to be a MUCH harder task. It seems we can be more forgiving, tolerant, patient, and objective with others... not so ourselves. It seems we know too much about ourselves to forgive, to understand, to accept... we forget that God knows us even better, and yet He forgives us... he sacrificed His Son on our behalf... we are redeemed and forgiven. How sad... what a travesty that we can't see ourselves as He does. I've renewed my chalenge to look for Jesus in the mirror in the morning; again with mixed (or unsuccessful) results. My counsel, quoting one of my favorite characters (whose image occupies a place of significance on this page), "Look... haaarder!"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fire at Will!

In one of the Start Trek movies (forgive me true fans, I’m old and can’t recall the specific title), there is a wonderful sequence where Picard is in one starship, doing battle (perhaps a mock battle?) with his loyal “Number Two,” Will Riker. In one of my favorite movie puns, Picard sternly orders, “Fire at will!” I laughed out loud!

Will is an interesting thing though. We seem to spend inordinate amounts of time seeking God’s will… for ourselves. Praying and sometimes even looking to the sky for writing in the clouds, or for a finger to trace the answer we seek on a wall… we implore the Lord to share with us his specific plans for us. Not always altruistically, we often are seeking to understand how OUR needs and desires can be accommodated according to His sovereign plan. I wonder, though, what ‘lenses’ we apply in seeking to find, and in seeking to understand and even align ourselves in His will.

I’m suspicious we don’t even understand just what His will even is. When I think about my “will,” I think about a determination, an intent, a plan, a “roadmap” with specific steps that I’ll take to achieve a given objective. I find myself wondering if this is true of God’s will. Does he in fact have a specifically ordained set of steps that each of us will take exactly and precisely? Is there only ONE pathway or roadmap that will lead us to his desired goal for us?

I recognize and firmly believe he does in fact have a plan… (Jeremiah 29:11), and I know that he expects us to seek his will for us earnestly through that plan (Jeremiah 29:13). I just question how specific and detailed that plan is, in anticipation of its working out. I do believe that He guides and directs each step we take (of our own free will and accord… but I’m not going there…), but as He lays the path(s?) before us, how definite is the map?

My proposition is this: If we ask, seek, and then move in accordance with our best understanding of God’s desire as He chooses to reveal it to us, and if we proceed in faith, then perhaps, just perhaps, he will work His will through our choices, for our ultimate benefit and good, according to His plan (Romans 8:29). Therefore, my purpose is NOT to agonize over discovering His plan that I might function within it, but to rely on the fact that He DOES have a plan, and that in accord with His desire for my best, I can do my best to understand in prayer and in faith, and then (whether I have full comprehension or not) to move forward, secure in His will.