I truly love the way Jesus puts pieces together using both the old and the new.
A few weeks ago Jesus asked me to renew my understanding of his work - Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. There is a really good resource from Wild At Heart Ministries resource called “The Work of Christ” that they released years ago. I dug it out of my CD vault. Pause. Yes, I still have CDs. For those of you who were born after the mid 90s, CDs are those small, shiny disks that look like DVDs but only have audio on them. Yep, I’m a boomer. Anyway, I pulled out the CDs to refresh my memory of what is objectively true of the Gospel. I have obviously listened to them before but, as often happens when we engage the Gospel, this time was a bit different. I found myself rejoicing and thanking Jesus from the depths of my heart and soul for his great work of Love and Life! A deeper dive into what he has done for us. Maybe it was a deeper awareness of my own sin, the war against my heart, or the appreciation of his great work of love and fierceness that sets me free. Most likely it was a mix, in unique measure to my need, of all of the above. God does that!
Whatever it was, as I listened to each session, Jesus took me deeper and deeper until I got to “The Ascension” and, John said …
“Ok, our destiny is to rule. That’s our human destiny. Lets go back to that now. Genesis 1, we’re created to rule. It’s just written into the fabric of our being. And you experience it in hundreds of ways in your life. Any time you ever want to make things better. Anywhere. In anything, right? I want to clean the house, that’s ruling. Right? Want to plant a garden, that’s ruling. Want to send a letter to a friend to encourage them. Any time you want to make things better by your presence. You bring something of yourself to bear on a situation to make it better; that’s Adam and Eve. That’s what you’re designed to do. And we love to do it in ways that are unique to us. Some people want to build, some people want to speak, some people want to touch, right, to minister, and other people want to sing, befriend. I mean, its as diverse as human personality. But the destiny is to rule. We are created to do that.”
Immediately, the Spirit of God made a connection … our glory can be as simple as a hug!
In my small group at church there is a woman whose glory is a hug. That is how she rules. No matter who, no matter what, no matter where, a hug from her is better than gold! Then God asked me look in the mirror and the knowing moved completely from my head to my heart. He took me into my own glory, new and fresh, what already is, in the context of what has always been objectively true. Old wine in old wineskins. Such a blessing!
Today, I was listening to a podcast on our ambivalence regarding the return of Jesus and I was intrigued by the clip they played of the woman who didn’t really want Jesus to come because there was so much in her life that she hadn’t yet experienced. As I connected and related to her story, the pieces fell into place in my own life. New wine in new wineskins.
I desire to do more to affect the hearts of people to recognize, lean into, and live out of the glory God has created in them. Part of me desires a “Big Ministry Impact” on the world. I want to write, and I want to see men and women set free to live from their glory and not from their fear. I want. I want. I want.
A gifted writer once said that “It’s not what He isn’t giving but what He is giving. We can get so locked onto what we don’t have, what we think we want or need, that we miss the gifts that God is giving.”
But the more I think about it, it isn’t only what he is giving that we miss but it is also what he has already given. We miss the glory he has created in us. The glory that is lived out in the day to day interactions of our lives. The glory that most of us have worked hard to hide and shutdown because we have found it to be misunderstood, opposed and, quite frankly, problematic. We stifle our own glory! Yes, in part because it is opposed but mainly because “The World” has taught us, through its assault and the resulting wounds, that when we live out of our glory it is painful. We are misunderstood, shamed, and abused. The Evil One takes our glory and merges it with our wounds and, often, when we try to live out of our glory, the result is that we live it out in pride or arrogance or neediness.
Even when we get a glimpse of the true glory God has created in us, we are so close to it that we can’t see it for what it is – how we have been called to rule. We take our glory for granted – “That’s nothing special.” We dismiss it – “Everyone can do that.” In the thousands of little ways that we proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God through the glory he has created in us, we remain hidden.
And yet, that is how we rule! We rule not in who we will become but in who we truly ARE, here and now. We miss it. I missed it.
Oh! But when we recognize the glory God has created in us, lean into it and have the courage to release it into the world, with integrity and truth and not out of our fear, pain and woundedness, that is when we truly step into the authority of Christ and rule in the Kingdom. That is when we become a part of the Kingdom of God. A part of what Jesus taught us to pray for … “Your Kingdom come!”
Not someday but when we rule in the Kingdom NOW! Not in what we dream of or aspire toward, not in the future of what “could be” but in the actual here and now! The true glory he created in each of us … from the beginning! Therein lies the cure for, at least, some of the ambivalence that keeps us from longing for Christ’s return with our whole heart. The completion and fullness of what already is!