Why do we struggle against God? Why do we always complicate things even in our best intentions? I see clearly now that God can and will wrestle with you, but that the struggle is the price to pay in order to dance with Him.
We all know the scene in the movie: the woman is drawn close by the man, the woman resists and beats on his chest in a rage, she is hurt and confused but he is understanding, the man takes the beating and her angry tears but continues to draw her closer in an embrace, finally the woman releases her anger and it turns to sorrow, the man comforts her on his shoulder as she cries out all the pain, she realizes she can’t resist any longer, and finally they are in love again…
This is a rough example rife with bad metaphors, but the feeling is what I’m after. When we resist God and struggle with Him, it is ultimately to submit to Him. Finally submitting to God begins a marvelous journey I call “the dance”. When we completely give in to our Lord, then the dance begins, we can now walk in freedom, we finally are shown what walking in the spirit means, and we joyously allow Him to lead. This is God’s intention: He only wants to dance!
The kingdom of God is founded on love. To learn love is to learn the language of God. All of scripture points us to a discovery, the discovery of a God that loves us. The love God has for us supersedes all known language and description: it is better and purer than your love for your spouse, it is deeper than the love for a child, it is more personal than your love for a best friend, and it is sweeter than a broken heart for those who suffer. We simply cannot function in the kingdom if we are not founded in love. That love is given freely to us from God…when we stop wrestling with Him and begin to dance with Him.
I see two clear reasons for resisting God: Pride and Unbelief.
Pride in this context is choosing our own will over God’s will. We are easily blinded by the enemy; he has many crafty illusions. Sometimes we believe the lie that we are having a hard time hearing God’s voice in our lives. Other times we doubt God’s mercy and grace and believe the lie that we have to “clean up” before approaching Him. Another good one is the lie that God is angry with us for being screw ups. All of these lies are borne of pride. Self-deprecation is the ultimate in pride because you can never take your eyes off of self! God doesn’t want you to focus on what you aren’t, but rather focus on what He is.
The body of Christ has an identity crisis. We have believed the lies and have measured ourselves by faulty measuring tools. God’s measure of a person is simply how well you both know each other. To seek God solves every problem…think of all the times in the Bible that God implores us to focus on Him and He will be our God. You don’t bring anything to the table…ever! We must sober up and realize that the greatest sin on the planet we call Earth is guilt. That’s right, guilt. Why? Because guilt negates the power of grace, because guilt limits the love God has for us (“He can’t love a loser like me”), because guilt causes us to distance ourselves from God, because guilt prevents us from praying in thanksgiving and praise, and because guilt makes us ashamed to be naked before God. We should never confuse guilt with conviction. Conviction causes us to approach God for forgiveness; guilt (or rather “being accused”) keeps us from approaching God.
What we simply will not recognize is that the only thing, and I mean the only thing, we can bring to God as an offering is our brokenness! Don’t bring your good works, don’t bring your promises and plans, don’t bring your lip-service, don’t bring your wisdom and crafty speech, but DO bring your brokenness. We don’t “take up a cross daily” for any other reason than to be broken daily.
This sounds awful! We say to ourselves, “That is harsh, that sounds painful…” But the reality is calling out to us that by being broken we now gain the pleasure of dancing! We finally take our eyes off of ourselves and gaze firmly into the eyes of the One who loves us, has saved us, and has been waiting to dance with us. The music can start anytime you choose; you don’t have to wait until you “pass to the other side”. Eternal life defined by Christ Himself is simply “knowing God” and “knowing His Son”. The Holy Spirit is present with you now, and He wants you to know God through Christ…and the Holy Spirit will lead you into His presence! If you will take His hand and dance.
The other stumbling block besides pride is unbelief. This one gets all of us from time to time. The truth is painful to hear. The truth is that unbelief is conquered by faith. You cannot have faith without it being given to you. And it is given to you by God Himself…in person! Belief gets you to the door; faith is the reward when the door is opened. It is almost a damning accusation that we still don’t get it! The spiritual life is profoundly different than the worldly life, in that they operate in completely different realities and modes. If you are not spiritually seeking God, then you are not actually seeking God but rather a manifestation of Him. You can’t find Him in church, you can’t find Him in a “glory cloud”, you can’t find Him on the internet, and you can’t find Him in the Bible. The only way you can be reunited with God is one-on-one in the spirit…for God IS Spirit. Don’t get me wrong here: most of the above examples are necessary road signs, church and God’s written word ARE the map to the gate, and there is no other map. Period. But we must understand that the Bible is in one profound facet, the map to God, and church is how we function in the world to share the good news of a knowable God. This is the difference between knowing of God and actually knowing God. The end-game has always and always will be to know God because without faith, it is impossible to please God! “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”, not secondarily, as an afterthought, after the bills are paid, after I get my life together, after, after, after, but rather first!
Walking by faith (dancing) is simply doing what you have seen Him do, loving the way He loves you, saying what you have heard Him say, and acting the way He has shown you to act. Faith is the ultimate reality, but to walk in it, you have to spend time with the Lord. More time with God = increase in faith. He changes us and gives us faith; this is the opposite of “blind faith”, for we once were blind but now we see (with spiritual eyes).
So the catch is that unbelief has to be conquered by faith and faith comes by hearing God speak. But what if you don’t really believe? Then you start by seeking, you start by following the map, you begin to ask a God you don’t believe in to make Himself known to you. The tools of scripture and preachers and teachers and loving Christians are all there for you to help you find the “treasure hidden in a field”, the “pearl of great price”, and the ultimate prize of life.
If we wake up every day and seek time with God, share a loving time with Him, and meditate on His grace, mercy, and glory then the day is seen through a spiritual lens…everything matters, every detail important, and all for God’s agenda instead of ours. If we miss the opportunity to be “changed glory to glory” by starting our day in love with our Savior, then we are walking through our day without the proper lenses. We see the world in its temporal, visual state and are subject to its faulty system…including the lies. Blessed is replaced with lucky, faith is replaced with opinion, and worst of all, “our will be done, not Yours”.
I exhort all who read this to simply succumb to the desire to seek God, I beg of you to let go of everything and bring nothing but brokenness before God, and I extend an invitation to stop resisting God, taste that He is good, and learn to dance with the One that desires this dance so very much that He suffered and died for the opportunity.