I am hesitant to call myself a Theologian, it sounds a little arrogant, so I am going to let you judge whether or not I deserve that title. I am not sure how one gets the qualifications. That is not the point of my blog, so you can drop a quick comment, but let’s not focus on what the qualifications of theologian are.
You probably know that I call myself a Wovenist, I have written some blogs about it and shared it in some comments. Dave Miller’s recent blog got me thinking more and more about it. The reason I call it Woven Theology is because it’s the weaving of man’s responsibility and actions and where they interact with God’s Sovereign design and plan. Man exists inside of time while God transcends time. There is a point where God’s eternal attributes interact with man in time. It’s those points which we argue, because we view the different aspects and think for them to be contradictions, when in essence it a merging of the temporal and the eternal in a beautiful moment.
What I have been meditating on is much of what happens after the moment of salvation. We often think that Salvation is God’s work and Sanctification is man’s work. The scripture doesn’t teach that, the Bible teaches that He who began a good work in you will bring it too completion. Philippians 1:6 say so. So if Salvation and Sanctification is God’s work what is my responsibility? After all, if Woven Theology is the intersecting of God’s power and my responsibility, I must have some right?
First, let me tell you what I don’t think our job is. I don’t think it’s our job to go ‘discover God’s will for our lives’. We don’t need to go out and find what God has for us, God will take us where He wants us to go. We are not out to find God, to earn God’s favor, to amuse or appease God. God is taking care of that part, He has the plan and He has a plan for me. So what do I do.
As I read through the scripture, here is what I see. The revived spirit in man, the part that is born again out of Salvation works in and with and through the Holy Spirit to achieve Godliness, righteousness and find God’s purpose for our lives. The fruit of the spirit grows up in us and we follow God in Christ. We follow Christ like water follows a riverbed. We flow, we move with ease in the cause of Christ.
Here is the problem. Flesh. We still have flesh and it clings to us and pulls us and moves us out of the riverbed and we cease to flow and we stagnate. I think many Christians, many churches are in this place where they have stopped moving and started to stagnate. We try to get flowing on our own power, and we can’t. We can’t get moving, we can’t find life we just sit there and become frustrated. (I know, I am using we again, and you all hate that. When I say “we” I am talking about me and the people with me, so if you are with me, you are part of ‘we’. If you think I am insane, then you are not ‘we’ you are. . . ‘they’ I suppose.)
We try so hard to make our lives work, not realizing we are working on our own because we are not in the banks. We are in the works of the flesh. You know them, they are in Galations 5:19, and Paul leaves us a door open, this is not an exhaustive list. He says “and things like these”. My flesh struggles with strife, jealousy, anger, envy and even though it’s not on the list, pride. I think pride is our biggest work in the flesh, because we want to do it on our own. We want to follow Christ on our own two feet, to pull ourselves up. We say “no one ever gave me anything, I earned what I have” so we decide we are going to earn our own sanctification.
Here is where I find myself. My own pride to follow Christ on my own is keeping me from really experiencing Christ in that powerful river of The Spirit. My own desire to do good is keeping me from doing good. My good deeds are filthy rags because they are my deeds and I put my faith in them. I have my faith in my ability to follow Christ. It’s a slick and a tricky deception. We want to please God, we are to please God, we are suppose to live for God, it’s not so much if, it’s how. How do we please God?
On one hand, I can try to please God on my own. Do it better, faster, grow in maturity, read my Bible, pray, go to church, study, go to seminary and become a pastor or a leader, and then look back at all I’ve done and say “God, are you pleased with me?” If I have done all this without faith, the answer is “no”. The Pharisees, they worked hard, studied and knew the law, but they were stagnant held back from the river by the wall of flesh.
Here am I, in the year 2012, and I want to be better. I am frail, I am fragile and I can’t do it on my own. I have tried to be better, smarter and faster. I have gone to seminary, read all the new books, listened to sermons, gone to conferences and tried and tried and tried. God is not pleased by all my self effort, because at the center of my effort is me. In all of my goal to get better, what am I trying to get better at? Loving God? Do I really want to be closer to Him, or do I want to be better FOR him? Sometimes I feel like I am more of a campaign manager for God, working in a city far away trying to get people to vote for Him, but never really knowing Him.
I want to get back to the river. I want my flesh to get out of the way, I want to stop being envious of those with a great ministry, I want to stop being angry and bitter at those who hurt me. I want to let go of the pride that thinks it needs to be done my way. I want to let go of the hurt that springs up when I see someone doing better than I am doing. Pride and envy, they need to die so I can live. I have to crucify my flesh, and the only way to do so is to intersect God in a real way on this path, to become woven with Him.
So I have my responsibility, to get my flesh out of the way. I am praying, I am fasting, I am seeking and knocking. I am confessing, I am repenting, I am crying out and I feel movement again. I feel like I am moving towards something greater, and my heart once again has life. I feel like my life is being woven into a greater tapestry that I may become less and He may become more.
I find this isn’t popular. There is no way to chart it, graph it, put it on paper or show results. I can’t document it, I can’t budget for it, and most importantly, I can’t control it. I have a hard time explaining it, I can’t share it, I can just testify to it. I feel like I have found a truth, but I can’t make anyone else believe it. I have discovered that I too, like Paul am a wretched man, but Jesus Christ can save me from this flesh. Are you part of “we”? Are you with me, in this boat of self effort that seems to be sinking faster than you can bail? Are you feeling like your spiritual life is a breeding ground for mosquitoes? Let’s stop trying to be Godly and seek to be fleshless. If we become fleshless, we can live in the Godliness that we already have in Christ Jesus. It’s time to live out of who God made me, and not who I am trying to make myself. Are you with me?