When God’s Revelation Messes With My Theology

God and I don’t always agree. But He is always right. There are plenty of factors that can contribute to our perspective of God and the supernatural world. For many people, it’s Stranger Things, Halloween Horror Nights, Bill Maher, or even politics. In fact, just about anything can affect our view of the unseen world because the things that we see with our eyes are made by the things we cannot see with our eyes. That truth and fact is first declared to us in Hebrews 11:3, before it’s ever mentioned in a particle physics class.

Consequently, there are places and truths in and from the biblical God that mess with my theology. There is an all-out war for what occupies our minds, because what we think about becomes our priority, and our priority becomes our investment. Whether or not those investments are healthy, these are the external fruits of our internal roots. I would contend that our view of who God is, is the single most influential factor that can impact the way an individual lives their life. The goal, although, is to match my view of God, with God’s view of Himself.

Ever thought you knew somebody because of what other people said about them – only to find out that it was extremely skewed? How about somebody you just met telling you, “I’ve heard so much about you”, all the while you’re wondering what that means.

Even Jesus faced this with his own friends and closest followers. He asked them who did others say He was, and people started throwing shots in the dark. Some confused Jesus with another family member, others said He was a lonely preacher, while others just labeled Him a usual prophet. In His humanity, I could imagine the thought coming across His mind, “Seriously?” Then Jesus proceeds to ask, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter, one of the more vocal followers, speaks up and says, “You are the manifested humanity of the abundantly real God.” What a bomb. Jesus praises Peter for his accurate response, then a few moments later, lovingly slams Peter for thinking that he knew more than he knew.

I believe this can also happen to us more often than we think, where God’s revelation messes with our theology. I like to see it this way, there is a Jesus that I don’t know yet. Yet, the one I know doesn’t contradict with the deeper understanding I have yet to attain. It is a journey to know who God is.

I believe in God’s grace, mercy, compassion, righteousness, love, holiness, and a ton of other characteristics. I would even say I know them and of them – but not in totality. Why is this? Because of my human frame. Ask your electric company to connect the plant to your house without the use of any transformers and tell me what happens. Transformers are what allow electrical energy to get to our homes without burning them up like a piece of paper. I love the way the grace of God works in people’s lives but I truly don’t know the infinite ways it TOTALLY works throughout the many aspects of a person’s life. The reality of our limited understanding should make us in awe of Him and His grandeur, yet inspire us all the more to know who He is in His accessibility.

I remember meeting a large-framed man at the gym, who looks like a bodybuilding samurai version of Steve Aoki, and beginning to talk about God. His name is so fitting: Samson. He started asking me why Jesus didn’t show up to him, to which I responded along these lines, “Why don’t you ask Him to?” I’m telling you, I’ve never seen an intimidating man like him at a loss for words.

He said, “Well, I don’t know about that.” Evidently, he hadn’t tried. I said, “Are you concerned He’ll actually show up?”

“I don’t know,” he quizzically responded.

I have found myself in that same kind of place, where God’s act of revealing Himself to me in a new way, required my vulnerability. I believe God delights in messing up my theology, or “God-opinion”, because He likes to keep things fresh. Somebody once said, “opinions are like noses, everybody’s got one.” And someone else said, “and they smell, too.”

Everyone is a theologian, with an opinion of what God is like. I’d rather get to know God for who He says He is. If I’ve got to change my theology to find out that His grace empowers me more than I think it does, then let it be unto me. If I’ve got to change my theology to recognize that He’s more holy than I think He is, then let it be so.

I want to know Him, don’t you?

The Thought Highway

Traffic.

Something MANY of us can relate to.

There are just a handful of things that help us get through traffic. For me, it can be a talk with Jesus, a podcast, or a throwback song.

I like to think about my thought life as getting through traffic on a thought highway. There are moments where you have that reckless driver that causes you to become a vicious wolf, or there can be that bubbly person on the phone, with their car speaker so loud you hear every word – yet it brings a chuckle to your heart. There are so many things that can run through our mind, that move a lot like traffic.

There is that one person who is in front of you that just WILL NOT let you go through. This person is a lot like that thought or mindset that is looking for a dwelling place in our minds, and just won’t get out of the way. What we dwell on will eventually determine our actions. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” I have a time or two or twenty, have been close to hitting the car in front of me from trying to get around these kinds of people. But what if I just simply slowed down? It is almost guaranteed that the car is just going to get further. I believe many times the solution to these mental gymnastics is just slowing down.

You may say, “What about everyone behind me?!” – which can be interpreted as, “Life is just jamming my mind!”

Well, there is peace for that. Interesting enough, Jesus told us to “not let [our] hearts be troubled” (John 14:27). Notice the “let” part? We are responsible for what dwells in our hearts. Yeah, something may drive-by, but it doesn’t have to park. This can be an emotional temptation of the soul, which happens with music, mental temptation, which happens with comparison, or physical temptation, which happens with self-immodesty. These are just a few examples.

Biblical peace implies a sense of tranquility (Strong’s Greek 1515). But things must be TRANQUILIZED to become tranquil. God’s presence in our lives truly has a tranquilizing effect on us. But many who do not engage with God actively seek other forms of tranquilizers – be it Netflix binges, unhealthy relationships, Instagram scrolling, or getting lost in Youtube like it’s Narnia, to name a few. Drugs and alcohol can be easy to pick on, but Paul contends that believers should not allow themselves to “be brought under the power of [anything]” (1 Corinthians 6:1-12). God TRULY wants us to live a life of TOTAL FREEDOM.

No troubling traffic…ever.

From this recent Thanksgiving break for the local schools, traffic was really cut back. I had WISHED I wasn’t working from home and had driven to work because of the lack of traffic! How crazy is that?!

Because I believe there is an enjoyment we can all benefit from when we see that progress is being made on a journey where traffic is not our enemy. I have had some amazing times in crazy traffic before, because I focused on the progress, and not the delay. I’ve heard it put this way, “delay is not denial.” In fact, it would even make the time for that evening more valuable. We get to choose whether or not we will view delay as a depreciation of our present or an appreciation of the future. But I will further that thought and say that our present perspective is what actually shapes our future.

I know, traffic is inevitable at times, whether you use Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, or…Mapquest? And people don’t always use their blinkers, so you don’t know what circumstances will throw at you. But we are oftentimes trying to find a way around it, because I believe we want to feel like we are making progress.

Yes, we all will face a flood of challenging thoughts at times. But ever heard of marking email as spam? You can do that with thoughts on the Thought Highway too.

Just a reminder: the enemy of your soul cannot read your thoughts. Here is an extension of that, the devil does not know which thoughts you dwell on that he introduces, except by your words and behavior. You can have progress in your life in times of heavy traffic. Flying cars haven’t arrived yet. But if the treasure of your heart is in heaven, then the traffic of this life cannot deny you.

Humbled or Humiliated?

How dreadful is the feeling where you want to just disappear to where no one sees you? But how awesome is the experience when you are honored to stand in the presence of God, or even highly-respected individuals?

I believe that is a major difference between experiencing humility and humiliation. Humility focuses on the esteem of one uplifting the esteem of another. Humiliation focuses on the circumstance created by one conflicting upon the behavior of another. Notice the difference in complexity?

Scripture demonstrates to us that humility lives in the mind (Acts 20:19). On the contrary, humiliation looks for a home in the soul and spirit (Strong’s Greek: 5014). But both are a matter of perception. If you looked at a pen and placed it next to a military tank, you could easily perceive that while the pen is smaller than the tank, it is not inferior. Tanks can destroy buildings, but pens can destroy nations – and build them for that matter. This is very crucial to understanding the difference between humility and humiliation. Humility empowers us to recognize we are a small piece in a much larger puzzle, but humiliation would cause us to think we are inferior, as one piece, to the process of completing the whole puzzle. Many times, it takes just turning one puzzle piece around a few times to realize that the pattern it holds fits right into everything else. Yet, if the piece was viewed by itself, it would appear to be trivial. Humility comes through seeing the bigger picture, while humiliation comes from the smudge of the smaller one.

When I was in high school, I asked a girl to homecoming. I had a pretty big crush on her; but you know how it is, we didn’t have the same group of friends. So this caused the ever-so-present theatrical hurdle of awkwardness where I had no idea how I was going to go about it.

I’m sorry to say I didn’t think of anything spectacular except simply asking – all the while I had a volcano in the pit of my stomach and tried to breathe the deepest breaths I could. The outcome? I got rejected. I admit, she was very graceful about it. But, that feeling of rejection? Oh dear. I chuckle about it now, but in the moment that volcano got to my head and I just wanted to bury my head in the sand. It took me awhile to realize that the feeling of rejection was really just a product of self-humiliation. In fact, I remember all of my friends showing sympathy about it. Even so, if someone had used that to impose humiliation on me, the only way the feeling of imposed humiliation could evolve into the mindset of humiliation, was by letting me think that about myself.

It was quite an amazing realization to know that I was a gatekeeper of my own perspective. But if we were honest, we would agree that we aren’t always the strongest gatekeepers of our mindsets. This is why the greatest gatekeeper is Jesus Christ at the gate of my heart. He helps me to know how I ought to think about myself. He made it very plain by dying on the cross for me, showing me the value of MY SOUL in HIS EYES. Furthermore, He extends His gift of imparted worth by the channel of His love toward us (Romans 5:17).

Seeing, although, that not only are we loved of God, we are called to love Him and others in return. But the source of that love in which we are called to love with, must be rooted in His character. In light of the sacrifice paid by Jesus Christ, we see that He took on humiliation for us to embrace the humility that comes with receiving His salvation. We can live in boldness and confidence of who we are in Christ, because HIS worth is shared with His people. I heard it put this way, “He put on flesh, so we could put on His robe.” He was humiliated, so that we could walk in His boldness with humility, giving Him all of the credit, glory, and praise due. Don’t be afraid to be boldly humble and humbly bold. Some people are tempted to humiliate themselves rather than be lifted up in pride, substituting one extreme for the other. One very well-known preacher used to say, “For every 1 person who gets lifted up [in pride], there are 10 who are discouraged”. Don’t be a victim of this false dichotomy, choose victory!