Last week I spent a few days in Austin Texas at the Verge Conference. As I was there I was continuously being brought back to two things. First the incredible reliance upon the Holy Spirit to be my sustenance, my drive and my comforter. Second, the call of Christ on our lives to be in this world with such vibrant and undeniable love, because that is what He did while He walked around as a man.
Dealing with the First. I have come to a point in my life where getting by is just simply not enough. I want more of the Spirit. I want to know that the things that I value are the things that God our Father values. I want to know that my desires are shaped and reflect God’s desires. Last night with my community we discussed the Lord’s Prayer. I was struck by the simplicity of it, yet it is so deep. Do I really look to see the will of the Father here as it is in Heaven? Do I really rely on God for my sustenance? I have to say not all the time, and I am troubled by this.
A few things that I have come to realize about myself in the past week. For a large part of my faith journey in Christ I have allowed theologies to dictate my understanding of the Scriptures, rather than allowing my understanding of the scriptures dictate my theology. To often I have leaned in on what I learned in College and Seminary to carry me through. In that I think I have largely missed out on some incredible things that God is not just doing around me, but what he has been doing throughout much of history. My pride has gotten the best of me, so much so that I silently thought that I had figured out God! Yet returning to Texas this past week was the culmination of what God has been doing in my heart over the last year, something that I don’t know that I got until returning home. There is so much that I know about God, but I don’t understand Him, there is so much that I believe, but I do so out of my confidence not out of my weakness.
I want more of the Holy Spirit. I want to think less about the intricacies of God and act more on how much he loves me as his son. I want to embrace my short comings and let them be a testimony to the work that he has done and is doing. I want to know that some how my life is connected to the grand plan of redemption, restoration and renewal of this world.
I want more of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to worry about things that distract me from God as my sufficient provider. I want to know believe in my unbelief because that is where I believe incredible power lies. I believe that it is in our radical reorientation to a life wholly reliant upon something outside not only of ourselves but this known universe is a life that is powerful and full of life and vibrance.
I want more of the Holy Spirit. Because what more is there to want?
Dealing with the second part of what God has been teaching me how to love in such a vibrant and undeniable way. I have not been a very loving person. In fact even in experiencing that love of Christ I have found myself to be radically intolerant of brothers and sisters in Christ, moreover those who are not my brothers and sisters. Yet the mark of Christ is love, so where has love been in me?
I have come to the conclusion that I have not understood love in its proper context, largely because until recently I have had very few good examples of love. To help me understand love God saw fit for me to be a father. There is nothing I would not do for my daughter. I love her more than I thought possible. Loving her has extended my understanding of love. It has helped me to understand just what the Love of a father really looks like. It has helped me to know that my capacity for love is so much greater than I had every thought existed.
I think about my wife and how much more I love her. I have always loved her, yet it seems that I loved her in a way that would have contingencies. This is not so now. You see God has illumined for me the depth of Love, both in the form of Fatherhood and in the conviction that poured over me this past week in Texas. I want to live everyday full of the love of Christ that people would know unequivocally that Jesus is real.