Last week in church I shared my take on what it means to make discipleship engaging and empowering. One of the questions I left you with was, ‘How did Christ engage with you? How did Christ empower you?’
Quite a lot of events happening locally, in our country, and all over the world last week. You’d think we’d be used to 2020, but, well, it seems like 2020 is the gift that just keeps on giving.
I’m reminded of that one generic quote we always like to say – that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond.
In the light of everything that’s been going on, I’ve seen the need for me to evaluate and update my response. I’ve seen the need for me to evaluate and update how I engage, and how I empower.
And with that said, I’ve needed to ask myself, to remind myself, ‘How does Christ engage with me at this time? How does Christ empower me at this time?’
A wise man (Actually, Pastor Poppo) shared what I consider timeless and invaluable counsel – that in any connection, you need to discern the issue from the relationship, and that you need to prioritize the relationship, even if you lose on the issue. Keep this in mind as we continue down this message.
Let’s rewind to Genesis. To the beginning of time. Book 1, Chapter 1. God created everything in 6 days, and each and every time, He said that it was good.
And then we read in verses 26-27:
Then God said, “Letusmake man inourimage, afterourlikeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,in the image of God he created him;male and female he created them.
Notice how God refers to Himself as ‘us’ in Verse 26, and the author refers to God as the singular ‘his/he’ in Verse 27. The point I want to share here is that from the beginning God was plural but in perfect harmony to be singular – three in one, in an infinitely beautiful relationship.
It is FROM relationship that we were designed. Our design is a celebration of God’s Truine relationship. Relationship is part of our design.
Now we all know what happened after this. We were well provided for, down to the fact that God was literally with us at the Garden of Eden, and unfortunately we were deceived to believe that we, as creation, could have even more, in the form of being gods ourselves.
An issue of power was presented before us, and we prioritized that before the relationship.
As a consequence, we were cast out of the Garden of Eden, with a clear line drawn in the middle of our relationship with God. The Law was introduced generations later to clearly point out how the Designer was so superior to the design, that it was impossible to cross the line.
Our design was impacted, so much that we apparently prioritized the issue more than the relationship. Just look at the Old Testament. We tried to reach God with a tower, and ended up confused. We tried to rule ourselves, but if we weren’t dealing with corruption within our ranks, we were constantly fighting with our neighbors.
Sure, we’d repent, and God would respond graciously, but at this time, if we weren’t already bombarded with the present issues we’d be haunted by the consequences of our actions in handling previous issues, out of fear of future issues!
Praise God for Jesus. The Son of God, in His infinite knowledge and omniscience, sees all of our issues, and knowing how absolutely hopeless we’ve become. With a snap of a finger He could have rescued us from all our issues, but He knew better. He knew that the issue WAS our broken relationship, and that’s precisely what He prioritized.
Chinese General Sun Tzu was quoted in saying something to the point, ‘To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme (or pinnacle) of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.’
In a display of infinite wisdom, He did not fight the enemy in his terms, with skirmish after skirmish. No, the Creator set aside His glory and lay down His life as a sacrifice. He took our sin, our issues, and our issues of sin and sin of issues, and in so doing He died, draining the cup down to the dregs.
Christ prioritized our relationship, and now, by His finished work, no issue could ever separate us from God!
Sun Tzu also said the following:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.If you know yourself and not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in (LOSE) every battle.”
My friends, in Christ, we have been made new creations. And do take note that Paul clearly indicated that we are NEW creations, not brought back to the old design. Why do I say this? Because at the Garden, Adam and Eve didn’t know the enemy.
And, again, praise God for Jesus. For by His finished work we are constantly reminded of who we are, and through communion we remember that the enemy has done its worst, but death could not hold Jesus down, and death certainly could not hold us down.
You can say that we’ve been designed and re-designed for and from relationship.
And with this I’ve been refreshed. I was easily intimidated and confused by what I see on the screens recently, to the point that I questioned my engagement and empowerment.
But praise God for Christ, for it is in these times that I am reminded:
If you forget your design, remember your relationship.