Monday, August 22, 2016

Freedom From Two Illusions

Teaching in Eldoret, Kenya
When I was teaching in Eldoret, Kenya, I told the Kenyan and Ugandan pastors that the #1 thing they need to do 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. 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 is able to 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 tight with God. You cannot consistently nurture the "in Christ" relationship and remain unchanged. And, as a bonus, as you make God your Shepherd (in practice, not theory; viz., trust in him) 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 proceeds 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. W
hat God works in us can and will influence other people, by God's Spirit.

Be free of two illusions:

  1. The illusion of your indispensability
  2. The illusion that you can change people

Today, abide in Christ. As he speaks, obey. This is the place of all authentic spiritual formation.