Monday, January 27, 2014

Reflect the Light of God to The World - A Primer on How to Do it!

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Today my bible study asked me to discuss with friends how to reflect the light of God into the World.  I usually talk to my friends in karate when I want advise or I am confused, but this time I tried it on Facebook, since everyone know you have more friends on Facebook than you really have in the world.  I was thinking I would get opinions that I would normally not get, but I was not hopeful I would learn anything.  I was doing it out of obedience to my pastor, since he had demanded that we study.  I was wrong; he was right. 

This is what I learned when I asked how to reflect Gods Light and Love on the World:

One of my karate friends from nearly 2 decades ago answered:

"By rising up over the common opinion and common practices of the world round us and showing love, mercy, forgiveness to those that need it, but appear to not deserve it, by the worlds standards."

First thing is to do what Jesus would do - love people, especially those people who do not deserve by the worlds standards. We are called to be different, and it is not, at first, easy.  It will require the Grace of God to reflect his Glory, because we too do not deserve it.

Then another friend answers: 

"Remember, the biblical vision of love isn't about the emotion of love. Emotional love is our culture's vision of what love is. The NT vision is agape - which has just what you reference. It is action, it is engaging. Traditional visions of spirituality suggest that there are 3 ways to the presence of God - contemplation, study, and acts of justice. Part of the challenge as I see it is our responsibility to discern/discover what is the true act of love."

Then minutes later, comes LOVE, unconditionally everyone, with a reminder of what my pastor said just yesterday, contemplate or meditate on the Word.  In all cases, this requires work boots.  You have to do something, and then the holy spirit acts within you, allowing you to rise above the world, and reflect the light of God.

And then, the same friend gave me an illustration:

"Yesterday after church a fellow worshipper asked us for a ride, which we provided. As he drove, he hinted at some of the struggles he was having and how some money would help him. (If we had some cash with us, we probably would have given him some, but it turns out that neither Cathey nor I had any.) But the struggle for me in the whole journey was, "How do I love this man? How do I embody the Christ I know?" Faith tells me that God was behind me having nothing in my pocket to give him. So caring about him, loving him, listening to his story, giving him a ride - maybe these were the love I had to give him. Trusting God's presence in me, emptying self (change/transformation?), and giving what I have was what I could do yesterday. And I have to trust that yesterday, that was what I was called to do and who I was called to be. Is that the end of it? No. But it was where I was yesterday. Part of my belief is that my desire to please God is pleasing to God. I'm still a work in progress. I'll pray for your spots. You pray for mine."

An awesome example of what we might want vs. what God wants.  An example of letting go and resting within the will of God, fully allowing that in the end, his will be done, that all things will work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.  Also an awesome example of something I have problems knowing how to do.

But that's ok.  He also had the solution for me not know how. "I will pray for your spots," he said.  God can do it, even though I can not.

And then another Karate friend chimed in, with what in retrospect is a BGO, blinding glimpse of the obvious.  She said something that covers it all, and I had managed to ignore:

Just allow Him to work and get out if the way!

And then, a friend from Church whose opinion on nearly anything my wife and I respect writes:

"The most effective for me lately is to act when God directs me to act. If I feel a direction, I act boldly. If I do not feel a direction, I essentially rely on being consistent with His commands, what I think of as the "basics:" truth, mercy, forgiveness, kindness even when I don't feel them. And, I wait for clarity on what to do next. Sometimes that just looks like doing nothing when what I want to do is something angry or reactive. When I feel a direction, I step right out. You know the areas of your life where God has called you or specific people He has called you to. Another factor is that if you are under the spiritual direction of someone God will completely and totally honor your submission to that person. In that case, just be clear that the submission is appropriate and then don't sweat it. Sometimes you aren't called to do something specific because God means that job for someone else. Love this discussion!!!!"

A couple of important points here.  First, a way to manage my actions in the absents of the Word of God or the Absents of a Calling.  Pretty direct and easy to understand.  The second thing that struck me is that she "loved this discussion."  I was worried about asking for help.  I should have been worried about not asking for help.  God is good!

Finally, another friend basically gave me a real life parable that help up to my eyes not only the how to reflect the light, but they why in real life terms.

"In the last year God has destroyed everything that my husband I tried to build in our own Adamic nature. He is now rebuilding it all in Him. I have learned that the scripture that states pray without ceasing is possible. It is not only possible but it is what God wants. My life is no longer trying to fit Christ into where I prefer for Him to fit. My life is now Christ and all else may fit or it may be dead forever. I no longer have a relationship with the BIble, but with the living God. God can do nothing with the church until we truly seek the Kingdom of God first."

More direct advise.  Seek the Kingdom of God, or God can not act.  You have to do something with the faith that it is for God, and he can and will use it.  She says too that it does not profit us to talk God into what we want, but rather talk ourselves into do what he wants, and he will use it, if it is in Jesus' name.

So, at the end of the day, what I have learned is:

1) Study of the word allows for more rapid change of your knowledge base.  Just reading it is not enough.
2) Involving others speeds up your understanding.
3) If you feel you are called, do it. 
4) If you don't know, check with the Word and follow the basic rules of Christian interaction, and rely on God to make it happen they way he wants it too.
5) Love requires Action.
6) God requires us to Love everyone.
7) We can't love everyone with out the Grace of God.
8) In order to reflect God's Grace with this love, you must realize you are called to it, and step out and do it.  Since God has promised that all things work together for those who are called according to his purpose, it will work.

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