Living Outside The Box

Authentic Christianity can be expressed as, “Living outside the box of religious performance and inside the love of an awesome Father.” 

“But…but…but…we have to do something”, you say.  “Otherwise we’re like spiritual coach potato free loaders.”  And to that I say, “well said (except for all the buts).”

I remember having a conversation with the late Dr. Lester Sumrall on the way from picking him up at the Quad Cities airport for some meetings when I was Sr. Pastor at Word of Life Christian Center.  We were discussing (I was mostly listening) about how one decides what is man’s responsibility and what is God’s responsibility.

The conclusion was that he believed that it was a walk of faith and very individual depending on what the Holy Spirit was prompting in the individual.  I agreed with him then, and even more so now.

From my years of living life and experience since then, I would further add this…

It’s impossible to have authentic Spirit empowered action without first living inside the love of our Awesome Father.  Only from being settled down and at home in His expansive and infectious love will we take our actions as re-presenters of that love.

Otherwise, we glide unknowingly down the slippery slide of doing what we do as a way to earn something from Him.  And that religious box is so common, it looks normal.  It’s what we’re used to.  In our performance based American culture, it looks…right…spiritual…honest…honorable.  But…

Nay, it’s not.  It’s neither honorable, nor honest.  Right nor truly spirit based.  It’s getting what we get by works.  But (holy shamoley) it’s deceptive.

I announced one time in my church, The Sanctuary, that it was going to be a year focused on “being rather than doing.”  The truth is, it became a very busy year.  Why?  Because Jesus was busy about His Father’s business when He moved through our life with feet on the ground and dirt under His nails.  And, He still is active in an through us as individuals, today….where He has His way.

However, the important key to understand is this.  The issue:  Being about the Father’s business.  Not making sandwiches the Father didn’t order….from you.  He may have ordered the sandwich from someone else.  That’s His and their working partnership. 

Abiding in His love.  Learning to listen to Him.  It’s a journey, but it’s never too late to start.  The challenge:  Mistakes.  You and I are going to make mistakes in the process of the journey.  But…miracles are on the other side of active mistakes.  (Selah)

The only way to fly is from an abiding position.  It’s busy, but it’s saturated with a deep sense of rest.  Don’t be afraid of the rest.  I’m a Type A driver, driver.  It’s easy to fall into performance for acceptance.  I can easily feel guilty at rest.  But, as I’ve been learning to live there, I’m discovering a much more fruitful, joyful, peaceful life.  A life of some pretty amazing life encounters.

(btw…sometimes the amazing part is something we realize later rather than at the time.)

A young boy named Cody died at 4 yrs of age.  He visited heaven.  The last statement he made as I listened to him giving his testimony (at age 12) is, “Heaven’s for real.  And you’re gonna like it!”

God’s rest is for real…and you’re gonna like it.  You will become more and less active depending on what Abba is doing in and through you on any given day.  As the scriptures say in Hebrews 4:17, “Strive (be quickly and earnestly diligent) to enter (that means it’s a place here and now) His rest.  You can live from the victory of the Cross.  But, you can’t add anything to it.

Gary