Choosing Substance: Going Global (Day 11)

worship

After I heard about these who would be sealed, I looked and saw a huge crowd of people, which no one could even begin to count, representing every nation and tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. Revelation 7:9

A person of substance is a global citizen. She knows there’s a world beyond her own backyard.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in my own story that I forget I’m a mere line in a novel that’s much, much bigger. Have you been there?

I mean, trust me, you have significance. You are known, and cherished, and loved, but you are one of billions. And with over 7 billion people come a myriad of cultures and worldviews and perspectives.

There’s comfort in knowing how big the world is. Last summer I drove through beauty and stood at the edge of greatness and remembered how small I was. In a good way. It’s freeing to know how teeny tiny your drama is… you don’t feel quite as captive to it.

If you’re reading this today, and you’re of the dominant race represented in your community, you understand how easy it is to forget this. Until we believe we’re looking at society and headlines and relationships and our faith and even God through cultural lenses, our world stays very, very small. Even our view of the Gospel is impacted by our cultural perspective. How easy it is to intertwine our cultural norms and Christianity, weaving together our comforts and our faith.

But God is bigger than culture and customs. He’s more significant than what our corner of the world values. He’s larger than our way of doing church. Thank goodness.

He descended into the mess to reconcile us to Himself… He came for those who are bound by oppression and poverty and those enslaved to consumerism. He came for those who can’t find food for today and for those who are on another diet. He came for beggars and workaholics. He came for those who don’t have shoes and for fashionistas. He really did. He came for us all.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me an awareness of how big His world is… how big He is… and how worthy He is of worship.

I know you’re busy. I know you’re doing last-minute Christmas preparations — there’s shopping, cooking, cleaning, and wrapping (and more wrapping!). But give yourself just a couple of minutes of solitude and reminded yourself how small you are. And how big He is.

…*That hath made heaven and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind hath bought…


photo source | Avel Chuklanov

*song excerpt | The First Noel

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We Worship What We Complain About

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“God is willing to sacrifice what is important to us in order to reclaim our hearts…” 

I read this and for a moment I feel the Maker’s pursuit.  I breathe in His affection and His radically intolerant love.

The days don’t make sense.  And for moment, I believe they don’t have to. My focus hugs the horizon instead of clinging to the near-sightedness mess, the clutter so desperate for empty comforts.

But usually the world’s jagged song calls out, and I lend my ear until I can only hear its abrasive clanging over God’s whispers of truth.  And I join in.  I join the clash and replicate the dark.  And then mock His plan.  We love to blame, and I’m no different.  I shout to the Maker and tell Him it’s all absolutely wrong, and then go sin some more and make an even greater mess of things.  It’s all so broken.

“We worship what we complain about,” my husband said one day. 

“What?!”  My reaction comes across a little too strong, more annoyed than I meant to. But deep down, I’m loving his counter-cultural wisdom that’s not threatened by mystery.  He beckons my mind to wrestle, going deeper than I ever thought my intellect could… past fear, past impressing others.  I’m still surprised, still challenged, after all these years.  Grace.

“Yeah.  We worship what we complain about.  At least I do.  Think about it.”

Indeed. The very things we scorn in conversation are what we ponder all the time. Our bodies. Our stories. The past. The future. Others. Yes, the demands we make in solitude shadow our worldview until we’re practically tripping in the dark.

My Maker dares me to find the horizon again.  He dares me to see the forest through the trees.  He reads aloud His Love Story bursting with tragedy and miracles, drama and reconciliation, grief and hope.  He sings His song to redeem the ancient brokenness I’m fostering yet today.

He delivers me from that which I worship.  From that which I complain about.  Over and over.

“God is willing to sacrifice what is important to us in order to reclaim our hearts… Much of the loss that tends to take our breath away has to do with God’s jealous love… His love is beautifully intolerant… He is willing to do drastic things in order to free us from slavery to this that were never meant to rule us.” – Paul David Tripp

Listen. Silence for clashing. Perspective for complaining. Wholeness for empty worship.

photo source