Monday, October 21, 2013

Freedom from 2 Illusions: The Illusion of Indispensability, & the Illusion that We Can Change Others

Eldoret, Kenya

I am a small voice sounding a drum from deep in the jungle. Here are some of the drums I beat when I was in Kenya.

I told the Kenyan and Ugandan pastors that the #1 thing they need to do, as pastors, is stay tight with God. Abide in Christ. Dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Send roots to the river of God. Live, 24/7, in the fortress of God. That's what you need to do. And that's what your people need you to do. Because what they need is not you, but God. They need "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Dwell in God's presence and he will free you from the illusion of your indispensability. I told these African pastors that they are not needed by God. God can and will accomplish his purposes with or without them. But God loves them and wants to use them. And he will, if they trust in him and abide in him.

We can't change other people. Only God can do that. So I told the pastors: "Today you can let go of your striving to change other people." 

Some of them told me how novel and freeing this was. I added, "But God can change you." 

The change happens as we hang with God. You cannot consistently nurture the "in Christ" relationship and remain unchanged. And, as a bonus, make God your Shepherd (in practice, not theory; viz., trust in him) and he "restores your soul." So, you don't have to "work on your own self." Just step into God's presence, stay there, and the Restorer of Souls starts to strip away all that has covered over your soul to get to the original "in God's image" psuche

The changes God works in you will not be just for you, but for others. This is called influence. We cannot change other people. But what God works in us can and will influence other people, by God's Spirit.

Today, I will abide in Christ. As he speaks, I'll obey. This is the place of all authentic formation, transformation, renewal, restoration, and in some cases resurrection. This is the place of my need, and my influence.