I have come to believe that even we Christians are most often deaf and blind to God’s presence in us and in our world. We don’t see the blessings and grace He showers on us daily. We don’t see or understand the answers to our prayers that He sends. We take everything personally, often as punishment, so it is difficult to see His goodness in our lives. We are not grateful for the life we were given, the families and friends who accompany us throughout our days, the opportunities He built into our DNA, our gifts and talents.
We don’t get why we suffer so much and why there is so much suffering in this world. We are deaf and blind in large part to God, because we are viewing Him through our own personal lens and through the world’s lens/viewpoint. Jesus said so often something like this, Let those who can hear, hear, and those who can see, see. [Matthew 11:15, 13:9, Mark 4:9, Luke 14:35]
We have to step back from our own personal lens and from the culture’s lens in order to see more clearly. We have to let God show us what is real and true through the Bible and through His own “still, small voice” within us. [1 Kings 19:12] We need to focus on God in our daily lives, in our jobs, in our families, in our leisure time, inviting Him into all the detail, so that He might advise us in everything, so that we might live in gratitude for all that He is to us, for all that we are and have. So that we can see more clearly.
Let’s just look at our culture’s lens. We never have “enough” of anything. It’s the material goods and the money to buy them that brings happiness. We are to “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps!.” To control our lives. To set goals and step by step, work to meet them. We want to be “large and in charge!” It’s the individual that counts, not the neighborhood, not the society as a whole.
Everywhere we look—ads, billboards, TV, online—these are the messages that are reinforced all the time. And that’s the positive side of the cultural bias. On the other hand, we never want to be no-bodies, poor or needy at all. We blame them for their status. We are not to cause problems by not adhering to these cultural norms. We prefer white to black or brown, rich to poor or even middle class.
I have to take a deep breath after writing those cultural norms down. I have to step back from their influence over me. I want to just rest in God’s arms and see what He has in store for me. He has taken all these worldly burdens off me and you, the “shoulds” and the “have-tos” of the world, [Matthew 11:30] so that we can be free of the world and its influence.
Jesus is talking to us, too, when He despairs of many people actually getting the message. He still holds out to us hope and peace and joy and love of the kingdom of God, but I don’t suppose He thinks many of us will get it. [Matthew 13:14-15] I’ve been reading Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy which is all about discipleship and about getting the message that Jesus so clearly outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. Willard takes the Sermon as a whole teaching. His thesis is that the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety describes how someone who is a disciple of Christ will behave in his life—towards himself, towards his neighbor, towards his enemy, towards everyone. To live in the kingdom of God is to express the fruit of the Spirit in everything we do—a good summary, I think, of Sermon on the Mount and how a disciple of Jesus expresses himself in the world.
Think of it: What if everything we did came from peace within us.? From joy? Love? From patience with ourselves and everyone else? What if everything that we say and do is done in goodness, kindness and gentleness? In faithfulness to God? In self-control—not in a rigid way: but from knowing that our needs will always be met by God as we seek to meet another’s. Imagine what the world would look like if there were tens of thousands of Christians living in this way!
As the Christian Church continues to lose influence in this nation, I think that we in the church must take this giant step into God’s will, into His inspiration, into His plan for our lives. Then, we will really have something to say to the world we live in, a true alternative to the way our nation thinks and acts. We then would be the coming of the kingdom of God on this earth, true disciples of Christ, a true living in the mind of Christ. A standard for the world.
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I see and hear with the world’s version of truth or with Jesus’ truth? Can I step back from the way I think and process what happens to me and see the world’s influence in how I think and act? And then can I follow Jesus?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who can see and hear as He reveals the truth to us. May we follow His lead in everything we do and say. May we rest in His arms.
On this page are archives of my blog going back to 2008. They are now organized by topic. Also find videos and audio tapes there, too.
My two books, “Exodus: Our Story, Too!” and “Thy Kingdom Come!” are available on amazon.com under my full name, Patricia Said Adams. Read there how our lives can be transformed by encountering God in the wilderness and how we can live in the kingdom of God here on earth.