The practical awe of God
On 1st January this year, I said I wanted to get my awe of God back. Then thinking about Lent I wanted to build on the idea that God’s gifts are practical, The Holy Spirit equips us to minister in whatever way we minister.
I ended up with six steps, no not really steps as they are not consecutive, six questions about how your life relates to God, to other people and how I can relate God to other people. To look at all aspects of life, there is no barrier between spiritual and physical. I got these questions from an internet search and I do not know who came up with them. If they are yours please reply so that I can give credit where it is due.
The question today is, “Who do I accept as a Christian?”
“I have messed up, I am too ashamed and too broken to come to Jesus.” If you ever think that I have some good news for you: You are mistaken.
God says throughout the Bible that he welcomes those who come to him. Jesus said that he would never turn away anyone who comes to him. So if you have messed up, come to Jesus. Come with your shame, come in your brokenness. Just come, that’s all there is. God may have things for you later, but that is for later. All you need is to come to God. That’s it, 100%.
Bring your burdens, bring your shame,
bring your tears, your fears, your blame.
Bring your brokenness, bring your doubt,
a broken spirit won’t keep you out.
Just come, Jesus is refreshment.
There are those who say you need to clean up your lives to come to Jesus. Jesus never said that. If you have been called the wrong sort of person do not worry, Jesus spent time with the wrong sort of people.
This is true. But what has it got to do with me getting my awe of God back? I believe I have got to stop taking sides. I believe the answer belongs in acceptance of all those who come to Jesus, we do not get to chose who is in and who is out of god’s kingdom. Jesus once told a story:
24 Jesus told the crowd another story. “Here is what the kingdom of heaven is like,” he said. “A man planted good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came. The enemy planted weeds among the wheat and then went away. 26 The wheat began to grow and form grain. At the same time, weeds appeared.
27 “The owner’s slaves came to him. They said, ‘Sir, didn’t you plant good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’
28 “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The slaves asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’
29 “ ‘No,’ the owner answered. ‘While you are pulling up the weeds, you might pull up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the workers what to do. Here is what I will say to them. First collect the weeds. Tie them in bundles to be burned. Then gather the wheat. Bring it into my storeroom.’ ”Matthew 13:24-27 NIRV
It is not our job to decide who is accepted into the kingdom and to keep the rest out. We could be pulling up the wheat, the people who have come to Jesus and that Jesus accepts. This could be anyone. Politically left-wing, right-wing or middle-of-the-road liberal. They have come to Jesus, who chose the political opposites of the anti-Roman revolutionary Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax-collector, a Roman collaborator, among his inner circle of 12.
“There is no Jew or Gentile. There is no slave or free person. There is no male or female. That’s because you are all one in Christ Jesus.” said Saint Paul in Galatians 3:28. I do not think the list is exhaustive, Paul was including the contentious issues of his day. I see it as OK to extend this to our factious issues, There is no white or BAME there is no straight or LGBTQ+. There is no cisgender or trans. The oneness Jesus was talking about was not the uniformity of the politicians or industry bosses who say, “You must agree with me.” This is a disagreement where the unifying factor is Jesus Christ himself. It was the oneness of a group that included Simon and Matthew.
So now two issues I have to face up to to get my awe of God back:
Being obedient to Jesus.
Accepting everyone Jesus accepts.
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