“The people who know God well - mystics, hermits, prayerful people, those who risk everything to find God - always meet a lover, not a dictator” Father Richard Rohr.
God is primarily a lover since He is love or more accurately love is Him. Sadly God is not seen through our efforts to be worthy of Him. He is known through Jesus and the Spirit.
He cannot be known when we live in a performance orientation. Yet He is revealed when we come to the end of our tether and gasp. ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’ It’s then that we are able to received Him into our life and enjoy Him as our life.
‘Service’ to God is not always what it appears. Kindness to others as a ‘work’ to please God can be a most subtle form of selfishness. Working for Jesus in order to pay Him back for His cross and our forgiveness is a tragic counterfeit of service and a travesty of love. We are embraced by God not because of anything we have done but because of His love.
I know folks who have spent their lives looking for a church that is doing what they expect a good church to be doing - earning their acceptance with God by charitable works. They need a community of Christian workaholics with which to fellowship in the project of being a ‘Christian Doing.’ Usually insensitive to the Spirit on account of their barrier of works they live in a subtle kind of delusion that they define as ‘Christianity’ but which is never the Kingdom. To disseminate spirit and life we must be at rest, live in the Spirit and be the expression of Christ our life.
With Jesus as our life we are a human being. Attached to any other motivation or externality we are a human doing. The former are sons and the latter are workers and slaves - outside their inheritance of identity, union with Father and spirit and life. Paul explains this clearly in Galatians in His comparison of the children of the slave woman with the sons of the free woman.
There is something about the children of the free woman that is disconcerting to the ‘good-works addict.’ The sons don’t seem to be trying. They don’t look like they are trying or doing anything - because the are not. They are resting in Christ. In Him they live move and have their being. They are happy and jolly because they release spirit and life spontaneously by being themselves.
This is why Jesus’ burden is easy and light. He has transformed us from workers to sons so that we release life and spirit by being who we are and doing what we like to do. What we like to to has been our design before we were created. It is who we really are. It is what our heart is and desires to be seen for. You won’t get this in striving and religion. But you will be it submerged in Jesus.
The effect of Christ as your life is that you are really you!
We can get our self-worth in a community of doers. But the Kingdom community is not one of doing. It is one of being. It is the community of sons - none of whom have earned their sonship. It has been bestowed on them as a gift. Sons are led by the Spirit of God. They live in their inheritance as the sons of God. Delivered from their cross of obeying to live they are free. They have been placed in union with God and set free by God to enjoy living to obey.
In Jesus we are graced to be ourselves. Hidden in His life we are birthed to be ourselves. Now we are alive in Christ and we are advancing into life to the full. Is because we are replete with life that we are complete in love. Anything we do is not to earn honour, respect or love. We already have this in abundance. We are embraced and cherished for ourselves. We are free to love and to do for the sake of love itself. We love best by being ourselves and doing that which is the expression of our hearts. This is the only activity that carries the spirit and life of Jesus.
Genuine love is spirit. It is the spirit and life that flows from God through us as unique expressions of God.
God is not a performance addict. Love is who He is and Jesus Christ is is the love of God. Most of the ‘busy-busy’ people I have come across in my life do not know God well. They know a version of Him made in their own image. They are busily engaged in the projection of their needs onto God along with their need to measure themselves, others and God in order to fit Him into their package.
But this infinite life is not a package or a belief system. It is spirit and life - life that lasts.
Life in the knowledge of good and evil is about measuring, assessing and doing. New covenant people - those for whom Christ is life are fruitful and peacefully content in being themselves and doing the kinds of things that come naturally to them - without connivance and religious artifice. Their deeds come naturally because they are a living expression of Jesus, which means they only expend themselves in doing what Father is doing - imparting life rather than activity.
The performance addict lives in confusion and is obsessed with getting others to do what he has been called to be doing. But his performance addiction is a double bind. Firstly he is a distraction to others in who God has called them to be. Secondly he is bound in the flesh because he will not live in the Spirit. Bound because he will not relinquish his need to earn merit and validate himself. The result is that even when he is active in his calling his work lacks the spirit and life that comes from union with God. He has separated himself from God by his own eforts.
There is activity that produces spirit and life and activity that in terms of the Kingdom means nothing.
There was Gerald who poured water into a jug for twelve months. At the end of that time it was no more full than when he began. Gerald spoke of the Holy Spirit and the anointing but what came from him were tiny droplets of water instead of rivers of life. Gerald had never embraced the new covenant.
June was diligent in the faith and in good works but she represented a dead stump instead of a living fruit. June had busied herself in a series of well-meant charitable exercises, but none of them came to anything because in common with all the species of old covenant effort they lacked the spirit and life of heaven. Sure, her work had a momentary effect. But never produced fruit that lasts into eternity. None of it was spirit and life. Because although Father has made her one with Himself she lived in an old covenant mindset of separation.
Bill was who he was. Happy to be Himself he lived in the fact that Christ was His life. Not a scholar, not theological and not a performance addict he enjoyed all He did for the Lord because He did it without effort and as ‘Himself.’ As a living example of Christ come in him, he made no effort to be fit into the things others thought up for him.
Too discerning to be dragged into the Ishmael’s of others He did what the Lord impressed Him to do and only joined in with those whose enterprises were led by the Spirit and the knowledge of doing only what Father is doing. This made him incredibly fruitful and saved him from time consuming and futile ventures, initiated by those familiar with religion but not in tune with God. Bill was a happy man producing fruit that lasts. But he was a considerable frustration to the un-discerning hordes who lived their lives as clouds without rain.
‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV.