Today I realized I had a new set of eyeballs. Let me explain. Many years ago when I first made the decision to follow Christ all I had known up to that point was what I saw without Him. There's no doubt God had his hand on my life since the beginning, but my reality began to become a little bit clearer when I took my first step into the kingdom of heaven on earth.
About a week ago my beautiful niece was having migraines. They had no idea what was wrong and they were fearing the worst. Turns out that all she needed was a pair of glasses. Her vision was blurred and making her brain work harder at trying to focus. This had happened overtime so slow that she didn't notice, plus she didn't know what to compare her vision to.
Sometimes we misinterpret reality because of the lens in which we see things. If our lens is foggy we may not get a clear picture of what is really going on. Almost every day I hear stories of miscommunication and disunity because of skewed realities. Sadly this is happening in our very church :( When we do accept Christ's love for us it's like putting on a new pair of glasses. This is the moment in which we realize how messed up our vision actually was! We had no idea that we could ever see things this way until we have something to compare it to!
Even when we receive our new glasses... they can still get all gunked up with stuff. Lies come along and we believe them, or we make unhealthy choices or step into those sinful desires. Before too long... we've still got the glasses on, but our view is tainted. We suddenly wake up one day frustrated because we can't see or hear God anymore. We are beginning to treat the world poorly because we become intimidated or threatened by their journey. Or we are just so sick and tired of straining our eyes to see this "better life" we were promised.
Sometimes we try and try to get others to just put on these glasses so they won't go to hell... instead of telling them how we actually see the world differently through them! Even worse is when we stop loving them unconditionally because of their decision not to wear these frames of salvation. When in all reality, who wants glasses that are all mucked up??? When people begin to see REAL FREEDOM in our lives.... when they see that we do treat others with respect and love (no matter their present decision).... when they see that we have no other agenda other than loving the "hell" out of them (literally).... when they hear true stories of how we now see life so clear and have testimonies of how it has completely changed our life.... when they see us living out God's love story and portraying God's character through our own life and being a beautiful picture of the whole gospel THEN they will say "ok, this is a God I can put my faith in."
Freedom is what we need folks. When we just focus on the "spiritual tank" being full and lose sight of the emotional, mental and physical.... we will not be able to keep it up for long. We sometimes tend to think that because it has "eternal value" it must be more important than the others, but we forget they are all inter-connected. They can work together or they can work against each other; it's our choice. God created all of them... and He asks us to be a good steward of EVERYTHING we've been given. Just as He gave us eternal life, He also gave us a mind, soul and body to care for. These were gifts. Is He honored by how we treat the gifts He has given us or is He saddened?
I'm not talking about how we look.... i'm talking about the inside. There is so much going on that we don't see. That doesn't mean it does not exist or shouldn't be cared for. A lot of us have been running on E for awhile now but are so deeply medicated by all of our tools of numbness and noise that we hardly notice. I wonder what would happen if we slowly began to allow God to peel these things away so that for once we allowed ourselves to feel the pain for a moment just to know we are alive. Then we allow Him to get to the root of it all. Could it be our lonliness? Even Adam was lonely. If we didn't "feel" loneliness then we would never know true intamacy. Could it be our lack of security?? If we choose to mask this then we may never trust his refuge, find true hope in our salvation or rest assured in the promise of redemtion. Believe you me, I've felt the sting of all of these... and i'm almost certain most of us have. But sometimes waiting patiently through the temporary pain of these feelings and trusting is the very thing that brings about the fruit of it.
A few months ago now I was speaking at a youth camp in Arkansas. After one of our sessions a young girl made her way up to the front. She asked that I pray for her friend who will not go to church with her. We started praying for her friend but I knew God had a deeper revelation of His love to bring into this girls life in this moment. As we were praying I began to see the lies she was believing herself. It was like they just began to rise to the surface. I saw a picture of God spraying holy spirit windex on her personal windshield wiping off all of the dirt and grime, sin and lies that were hanging on for dear life. She was unaware of these things that were hindering her view of the people in the world around her. Instead of trusting in the power of God to move in her friends lives she was becoming frustrated because they just wouldn't listen to her. She had also become intimidated by their journey and concerned that it wasn't moving at her comfortable speed. (Sure, it would be awesome for her friend to know the love of Christ... but this usually happens when His power moves through our obedience to love and serve them). As we began to call these lies out that she'd been hiding behind, you could almost see the freedom arise in her. Not only was God cleaning up her lens so she could now see everything so much clearer, but she could see Him clearer too. On top of that, His glory was reflecting off of the clean glass onto others... allowing His power to be the one they see, not her humanly efforts. After the prayer this shy little girl ran outside down the gravel streets screaming "FREEEEDOM"!!! At the top of her lungs. Uh-mazing. (Another cool part of this story was that five minutes later a friend of mine had the very same picture for someone else, leading us to believe that God was the one doing all the work that day and what a blessing it was to be right in the middle of it!)
Ever since I stepped foot in Nashville this time last week it seems that people have been opening up to me like never before. Even strangers are telling me their life story! It's actually pretty awesome. During the conversation, it's almost as if God highlights the very lies they've believed and the things they are enslaved to that are giving them so much grief. If they are believers, I begin asking the holy spirit to reveal these things so that they can be broken off. I ask God to spray some of that holy spirit windex on those gummy glasses of theirs so they can begin to see the world as He intends for them too... through the lens of His love and kingdom infused with His unbelievable freedom! Almost instantaneously when you pray for God's power to move and His love to captivate them, they notice something different. From then on it's their choice. If they choose freedom they must continue going to HIM for repair, healing, and cleansing. Being a FREE believer is not a walk in the park... we can't just choose Him and then sit on the couch watching t.v. the rest of our lives and expect to live in freedom. Sure, we can live enslaved... but is that really living at all?
Today, as I was talking to my pastor about all this I was beginning to see that my vision was becoming even sharper than before. I knew that I had the gift of discernment before, but now... God was using it in a way I had never imagined. I sat on the couch perplexed as to how this had happened without any "professional" christian training. Then He reffered back to our conversation about this 90 day blog thing and basically said, "duh lins, when you are investing so much time in the word.... you are exercising your spiritual muscles and He is developing those gifts in stronger ways you haven't known before" (paraphrase... sorry PJ, haha). So one of the things I'm learning as I read through the word is how much His truth really is like a sword sharpening all those parts of us He wants to use for His glory! I'm also discovering more of a terrifying yet beautiful AWE of the Lord captivating my very heart and catipulting me into the world with courage and perserverance.
There are so many people out there walking around with a blurry picture of God who deeply desire for someone to show them a clear beautiful picture of His love for them. They desperately need to hear the truth of His character and our testimonty of how His love story has changed our lives. The more dirt on our lens the more difficult this becomes for us to see and translate to others. He desires us to be free in all areas of our lives so we are able to walk clearly in the kingdom demonstrating His love to all the world!