Once we let God out of the box and allow Him to be the God that spoke Creation, the Universe, into being, the God who became a baby, suffered a horrible death for us, and rose again, we can’t live our lives the same way ever again. Living with His glory as our key focus shifts the position of my life being about me, to my life being about Him. I have to confess, that is a difficult thing to do on a minute-to-minute basis.
Growing up a preacher’s kid, I knew who God and Jesus are (tense dis-agreement on purpose) from a very young age. I can remember the first time I realized what it was to offend God. I was four years old and I had use God’s name in a bad way (worldly friends sticking to me). My father, with stern kindness, corrected me and reminded me of the third commandment. I was devastated, I had offended the Creator. I ran back to the spare bedroom, hid between the wall and the bed and started crying. I can still see the white bedspread embroidered with a white knot pattern and a stringy fringe. I don’t know how long I was back there, but I do remember my dad coming to find me. He explained the best he could to a four year old, how we all make mistakes (sin) and that is why Jesus had to come and die for us. I didn’t accept Christ at that moment, but I was thankful for Him and I was thankful that God sent Him.
As a four year old, God was so huge He was beyond my comprehension and I was horrified that I disobeyed Him. Several year later, I went through the Catechism class, confessed Christ as my Savior, and then went about learning how to put God in a box. That was in the early days of the Bible and prayer being removed from public school (I can remember saying the Lord’s Prayer right along with the pledge of allegiance), so there wasn’t any room for God there. I spent my middle and high school years in a great school system that afforded me many life growing experiences, but because they were always associated with the school, there was no room for God. Oh sure, there was the obligatory prayer before a big event, but even those became less and less Christian as the years went by.
I was highly involved in my church’s youth group. It was the late 70s early 80s. I remember talking a lot more about social issues (drugs, relationships, sex, parents, racism, etc.), than if we were living a life that Jesus would be proud of. It wasn’t till I went to college and got involved in local bible studies and worship groups that I had to examine my faith, my life, my devotion to my Savior. I had to let God out of the box and do some radical work in my life, refocusing my priorities on serving Him. He gave me a vision of who He wanted me to be. I set out to pursue that. I got involved in serving on Campus ministries; I worked as a summer camp counsellor for the local church camp. I was leading kids to Christ. I was bringing glory to God. I was on fire. But somehow, life demanding (not life abundant) kept creeping back in and I dusted off my God box.
I won’t go on any further. Suffice it to say that I’ve gone through several phases of letting God out of the box and dusting the box off to use it again. Since my youth, I have always been involved in the ministry of Christ’s Church, but I have, at times, just gone through the motions, relying on my “church” experience to get me through. If I am honest with myself, I have to confess that even with as involved as I am now in ministry, I still put God in that box at times and make excuses for “doing my own thing” because “I know better.” Yeah, Right!
Ok, the point to this HUGE rambling blog is that now I (and hopefully whoever is reading) have named the behavior, called it out for what it is, rebuked it in the name of Jesus, and will not, through Christ in me, let that pattern return. I am ready, again, and finally, to allow the God of the Universe to be Lord of my life with ALL that I have (given by Him) and ALL that I am (created by Him). I see Him from a four year old’s wonder and awe, but give him ALL that I am from a 47 year old perspective.