Thursday, March 28, 2013

Half-baked God, Beatitudes 17

Have you ever been so hungry that you eat food that is half-baked? The hunger is so great that you can't wait any longer. Sometimes this is how we try to follow Jesus. We are not willing to wait on what God has for us so we go for it and make something happen. We cannot live with the hunger that is growing so we settle for half-baked answers to fill that hunger.

God is a God of:
  • Word and action.
  • Promises and promises kept.
  • Proclamation and fulfillment.
If you want to follow Jesus well you must view how God both states and acts. He makes promises and he comes through on what he has promised. However, for the most part, we have become very accustomed to following God as if his actions, promises keeping, and fulfillment cannot be trusted. God gives us a holy hunger for him. God stirs up a thirst for righteousness and justice. We hear his calling to live out a certain vocation or pursue a specific line of work. Then we set off on our own path to make it happen.

If you want to follow Jesus we must have both God words and we must wait on his actions.

God's promises are proven in God's actions. God's actions are clarified by God's promises.

Many of our toxic images of God result from the fact that we don't hold God's words and God's acts  in collaborative tension. If we lean toward a God who speaks but his actions are not expected, then we have an image of a god who has a lot to say to us but for the most part it's up to us to get it right. His talk, our action.

If we have an image of God that leans toward action, then we are left with little understanding of what God is doing. We find it hard to know what is and what is not God acting. We are left with an arbitrary god who does whatever he wants. Our words, god's actions.

I think that many of us waffle between these two. Like a tetter-totter we run over to the Word side when we need concrete direction for what we need to do to make our life work better. And then we run to the other side of our daily experience especially when we like what we are experiencing because we assume that God made all the stuff that makes our life work happen.

Either way we settle for a half-baked relationship with God. God does not give us a hunger for his righteousness so that we can go out and try to fill it by our own means. He gives us that hunger so that we will grow in that hunger to that point that we are truly hungry for him and his kingdom. Any half-baked fulfillment always falls short of the kind of fulfillment he has for us.

This is the point of "righteousness" after all. God's righteousness is about God's justice. This is about God's faithful character to act rightly, to act according to the covenant keeping justice of his nature. God's righteousness is about God coming through. Anything less is half-baked.

Of course this means time. God's at work in this world and in our lives but never on the timetable that we want. There is not better example of this than that of Moses, the great prince who thought he could deliver his people with might and power (illustrated by the killing of the Egyptian soldier), but at the age of 40 he went to live on the backside of the desert for 40 years, as a shepherd nonetheless.

God had to form Moses to have the character that gave him the ability to both hear God's words and to wait on God's actions. He had to develop a fully baked relationship with God. That's where the hunger for righteousness grows and that's where we are filled.

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