Interpreting Jesus – Intimacy

That title really doesn’t do it justice.

I’ve been reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge, and following a recent 11-part podcast series by John and Craig of Ransomed Heart on interpreting your world, I’ve been enjoying revisiting this alternative, ulterior – yet so much more real – interpretation of Jesus that Eldredge presents in his book. It’s been altogether refreshing.

And I’ve gotta be honest. I haven’t been viewing Jesus right. I cringe as I think about that last sentence because I’m realizing something; I’ve been viewing Jesus. Viewing. Our relationship is well defined in that word, because that’s where it ends. I mean sure, I pray. I talk to him regularly. Often I hear him speaking back. But my attitude has been that Jesus is no more an interpersonal being than I am a jackrabbit.

Maybe I’m a jackrabbit.

I just don’t have an interpretation of Jesus that allows him the proximity which I believe and know (in my mind) that he wants to me. Perhaps I don’t feel significant enough for that; my interpretation includes a busy Son of God (how he is busy while chilling at the right hand of the Father I don’t know). Too busy to be intimate with me.

But Jesus, I need you to be intimate with me, My heart cries. But not only do I not have an interpretation that allows for an intimate Jesus, I don’t have any interpretation that allows for any man being intimately involved in my life. It just doesn’t exist. I won’t go into the blaring details of a confused childhood and the consequences which led me on into adult-hood without having that category of interpretation. Suffice it to say, I don’t think I know how to let Jesus be intimate with me; I don’t think I know what that looks like.

My 20 minutes of oil-pulling have somehow morphed into 25-going-on-30 – it’s time to lay this searching heart to rest.

Jesus, show your intimacy to me? I want to know you in the proximity that you want to know me. I’m not satisfied with this distance anymore.

Interpretting Injustice

I witnessed an act of injustice yesterday. It was brutal, to say the least. I say that as the by-stander, an on-looker into moments of the world of someone else – it was brutal. A man left a woman in tears and sobbing loudly enough to penetrate through the cold walls of my second-floor apartment–and the flesh walls of my heart. And it broke me apart.

You’re probably wondering what I did. I didn’t do anything.

I froze up. To say that fear was present in that moment in spite of the immediate adrenaline rush would be accurate. What do I do in this moment? What is appropriate for me to do in this moment?God, what do I do?

I was at a loss; I couldn’t go, yet still be present near enough to the office where my duty was, and so I simply watched helplessly as she slowly left my range of view. I don’t think any description I could give of the moment would communicate to you how very desperately helpless, useless, cold, powerless, I felt–and how shocking both the situation and my emotional response were to me.

Not that I’m shocked by feeling compassion, but I have never had such a download of the love of Jesus in the moment like that; it was mentally staggering, and I was unable to get it out of my mind the rest of that night to the point of tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep. Somewhere along the line Jesus said to me, “And do you see how much I love my bride?” It was immense, and it was the immensity that shut me down.

And it would not leave my mind. I kept running it over in my mind, what could I have done? What shouldI have done? What would You have done, Jesus?

No answer. Not any that were clear or understandable, anyway–to this point.

I lay awake thinking and praying about it, praying in the Spirit because I didn’t know what to say or ask anymore, feeling completely like I missed an important moment. And all I got from Jesus was, “Stop worrying about her; I’m taking care of it – just pray.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about interpretation, the way I see things, the way I respond, my perspective, the lenses I see the world, people and God through. And interpretation has been in the back of my mind at all moments as I think back on yesterday. I keep wondering, God, do you have an interpretation for this that makes sense? What’s going on here? I still don’t know. I thought maybe drumming it all out here might shed some light on a different way to look at things, but I guess that’s the thing about getting God’s interpretation – it only comes in His time, as I become ready to receive it. If I had thought theoretically about a situation such as this my question to myself might have been, Would you do something? But in the moment of the raw compassion, it went to a level so much deeper than “Would you do something.It went to the core of my heart, and I would say Yes, I’ll do something. But Jesus? What can I do?

For Those I’ve Left Behind

Close to two years ago I spoke in front of my now previous church. I shared a dream I’d had some time prior, and a vision. I spoke from my heart about the generational divide that church had been experiencing for some time and the response I received was phenomenal. But my question today is, what happened? What happened to my vision of a united body of Christ? And what happened to the seed that I scattered? Did any of it make it to good soil, or did it fall where it only withered away? Something I’ve learned is that humans cannot be entrusted to your dreams; they will fail. I’m not cynical (I don’t think) just a realist. Thank-you Father that You are faithful!

I just want to lay out a bit of my heart tonight in reflection, so if you’d rather read something educational or logical this might not be the post for you.

I know I slacked off. I phrase it in that way because 1) that’s how the voice in my head says it and 2) because saying it that way shows me the realities of the works-based strongholds still remaining in this old man. I never thought about it in this way before, but satan is continually condemning me with a works spirit, and that has been the case in these years since I gave that message. When I look back and question why it didn’t “work”, satan says, “You didn’t carry your end wonder it never lasted.”

I rebuke you devil in the name of Jesus whose blood has done the work for me. Go back to your pit; Christ has granted me DOMINION over you.

But really now, why didn’t it work? Or perhaps I should ask, why did nothing appear to change? Because being led by the Spirit, anything I step out in faith to do works, because He works. We’re getting really deep into the works here but just bear with me (and no puns intended!). So I can assume that because I followed the promptings of the Spirit, the purpose was complete, and the outcome is in His hands because that is where I left it.

But what those who heard that message that day don’t know, especially considering my recent departure from them, is that my heart still has a place with an ache for them. And it only became stronger the more truth I learned, the more I allowed the love of Christ to love them through me.

This, I suppose, is why I wonder at all in the first place what became of those seeds that I scattered there.

The nature of that system was that it never really took much to scrape through the superficial surface and start dealing with root issues, because people are always real people – you just have to go deep enough. But deeper was rarely an initiative, because deeper means change, eventual discomfort, vulnerability… oh that they could have the heart for themselves as I do now. Oh that they could have the courage to step outside of the mold and feel the vulnerability and the discomfort–and the life more abundant–that cannot reach them in their doctrinal coffins.

Because they have many fundamentals to wrap around themselves to keep the unpredictable, uncontainable wind of the Spirit out, but Christ only required two: “Believe in Me, and love everyone the way I love you.”

Oh if they could see that freedom lies beyond the fog, that following Christ is always a hardship, but never a burden.

But the flames that I saw for a moment flickering to life, they died down again. And I’ve wondered, why doesn’t such change last there? If I could only make a difference, tear a hole through the veil covering the sonlight… And that old devil comes back and whispers suggestions to me, “Well do something–oh, but you can’t do anything.” And the truth is, I can’t do anything. I can’t do anything, but I don’t need to. Because maybe there are still seeds waiting in good soil for the rain, for the Spirit to pour Himself on them. Maybe the more that I ask, intercede and agree, the more good soil those seeds will be given, and the sooner will come the rain. Maybe I’m still planting though I might not realize it. Because the truth is I can’t do anything, but the Holy Spirit can do everything.

And so I will take up that armor, it’s all I can do to put on the helmet which is salvation and the defense against my enemy’s attempts to discourage, the breastplate which is righteousness and the defense against my enemy’s attempts to dishearten, the belt of truth which upholds, the sandals which are peace, that I would go in peace wherever I go. The shield of faith, which covers all again, and finally the sword which is the Spirit, because every warrior needs a weapon to fight with. And this is when I relate with Romans 8:26, because I don’t know what to pray. Not for myself, not for my wife, not for that people on my heart, not for anything.

So Spirit, make intercession for me. I don’t know what to pray, my mind only gets in the way. But I’ll speak it and agree, if You will put it in my mouth.