I have come to believe that this is one of the most damaging and crippling lies being told in Christianity today. It’s one of those things that is more a value of western society, that we have just polished up and put a christian sticker on. If we truly believe God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the End, how can we hold to a value that it all starts with me?
Here are a couple problems this lie causes us. It limits us to a merely natural perspective, instead of allowing us to walk in the blessing and freedom of a supernatural lifestyle. Obviously it also puts us in a position meant for God, who is the true Alpha, which get us chasing our tails because we want him to be the “center of our world” but then we have to start to make that happen and in so doing we remove him from the center and place ourselves there, and round and round we go.
It also means that because we try to initiate everything in our relationship with God, we are always starting from the place of “not having” and trying desperately to get to the place of “reaching or touching”. Look at how we worship on a Sunday morning. The basic emphasis is on trying to get God’s tangible presence into the room, and we do that by engaging the congregation with a few fast songs, then we use a few mid tempo songs to bring things down to a more intimate place and then we use our slow, intimate songs, often quite simple hoping by that time God’s presence is manifesting and we can touch it and be changed.
That’s all good and well intentioned but it reminds me of the Comrades Marathon. They have about 20000 people lined up to run a 90km race. The only problem is that most people run about 2km, just to get to the start line! This for me is what most worship times are like, spending 20-40 minutes, just to get to the starting line, and then it’s time for the sermon, so we stop and try again next Sunday. Obviously this is the average experience, but that’s part of the problem.
I have begun to see and I am in the process of seeing that God is the initiator of everything in my relationship with Him, so when it comes to worship God has given us his manifesting Presence by grace by placing each one of us in Jesus, so that we can start from a place of intimacy. This changes our questions from “How will we get God’s presence to come down” or “I wonder if He is going to show up today?” to “How can we spend God’s presence today? and “How can we give God’s presence away”.
You might say that I am being arrogant or that I think I have arrived, and to be honest I do feel like I have arrived, but not like standing on the top of Mount Everest, but rather like standing waist deep in the Pacific Ocean, I have arrived, but all I see before me is an endless sea of possibilities, mystery, adventure and more God than I ever knew was possible