Ever wake up overwhelmed by sunlight so bright it almost hurts your eyes, and shocks you straight from sleeping – to wide awake? It can even be a bit painful. You wonder how you managed to sleep through it, and then get up because you know you can’t sleep any longer. Once past the stinging shock of that wake-up call; you look forward to the day…it is going to be warm and beautiful – made for a new adventure, or at least you know that even the mundane chores of the day will be easier to accomplish.
When you step out – there is the sun. If you aren’t distracted, there is at least a moment of awe as the bright, beautiful day invades your senses. Fresh air, sunshine, birds singing – everything feels new, until you’ve walked around a bit. Then, there’s a lovely comfort to it all, and you say, several times, “what a beautiful day!” Sometimes you think “This is the perfect day. I could do this the rest of my life.”
Haven’t we all said that? But, we’ve said it more than once, right?! When you last said that, either to yourself, or out loud, was it with regret for days gone by, or was it in the moment, and thinking of the future? Were you sorry for every day that didn’t wake you with such brilliance, or just happy for today, and making your way in the sunshine? Did you feel depressed over past days that weren’t as wonderful? No! You moved into the sunshine with a grateful heart, and made your plans based on this wonderous new day.
God’s process of sanctification – showing us “a better way” as we walk out our life with Him, is like that. As we searchingly read God’s Word, see Christ’s examples, and listen to Holy Spirit in our daily walk, God will show us things we haven’t see before…even if we were looking right at them. It is God’s joy to do so.
Pr 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. NKJV
Sometimes, it will come as a shock – either because we just had no idea, or because we were believing, saying, and doing things differently – even the opposite! Our intentions were good, but in a single moment we are shaken into a new understanding.
Remember, it’s God’s Intention to lead us into greater understandings as we walk with Him. From milk to steak. AND – there are varying cuts of steak, too. For instance, most of us rarely enjoy fillet mignon, but a NY strip happens more often. Each steak gets more expensive as the quality increases. It’s like that walking with God sometimes, too. Greater understandings can be more difficult to accept, practice, and share with others. There is even a place where God told His prophet not to share what he had been told. (Rev 10:4)
Here’s the test – how do we respond? Sometimes the new understanding requires only joyful acceptance. Sometimes a slight change of pace or direction. Other times confession and repentance. Occasionally, God shows us things that require big changes – dropping off old ideas, attitudes, and actions. A huge course adjustment. Change can be embraced in different ways, including mourning, confusion, even anger, sorrow, resentment, or guilt.
We might mourn teachings, or mistakes we now see we made in the past. Confusion hits us if we’re not sure how to begin to apply what new thing God is showing us. (Great time to call our mentor.) We might allow anger to be our response to God holding us accountable to updated information. We can steep ourselves in sorrow over past ignorance. We can resent change. We can “invite” guilt to revel with us over what we can now clearly see was a mistake. We can “invite” other people to share our guilt so we won’t have to take the whole blame. (Remember the garden?)
OR; we can shake off the “shock” and just go for the “awe.” We can embrace the new understanding God has given and move in that direction with joy; taking in the fresh start with anticipation for the future, rather than regret of the past. Sure, we will need to make adjustments – that’s okay.
Will everyone follow? Nope. Get used to it – be at peace. Love them where they are. It could be as simple as a dietary practice, or maybe more complicated than that. We can give grace to our fellow believers in matters that are not of foundational importance, as they grow and walk out their faith. For example:
Ro 14:1-9 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. NKJV
Our newer conviction or freedom might be one a fellow believer can’t yet see…like we were, the day-before-yesterday. Love them and patiently wait for them to catch up; but don’t go back. (Sometimes leading can be lonely, but the view away from the crowd is breath-taking. Stay humble and God will show you more.)
Ro 15:1-3 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. NKJV
There are tenants of faith where God calls us to stand firm. I am not advocating all manner of sin be allowed freedom in our gatherings. But there are areas of great theological debate, like Calvinism, predestination, etc. that have had good, solid, believing Christians in disagreement for literally ages. We can and should love our brothers and sisters who may not agree with us on some doctrinal points, to the good of the one body of Christ.
When God “wakes us up” to new understandings, it’s okay to be shocked at first. Then, we can walk in awe, not letting the King’s Revelation overwhelm, or puff us up. He gave it to us for a very good reason! Embrace the new – don’t mourn the old. Beating ourselves up takes time and energy God needs for other things.
An uphill climb is easier without encumbrances. Let’s take only what is needed, and leave the rest behind!
June 15, 202