Part 7 of The Seismic Seven Series
By: Jana Greene
This series has taken me a really, really long time to write, and I think much of it is due to coming up with the 7th and final post in the series.
You see, I had planned on writing about Perichorisis for Dummies. I cannot dazzle you with my understanding of perichorisis (which the very learned C. Baxter Kruger discussed at The Open Table Conference) because this here dummy still doesn’t really understand the concept. There, I said it. I’m prayerfully working on it, but I’m not ready to write about it. (In short, the relationship of the Triune God is intensified by the relationship of perichoresis. This indwelling expresses and realizes fellowship between the Father and the Son. It is intimacy. Jesus compares the oneness of this indwelling to the oneness of the fellowship of his church from this indwelling.)
There is a thin ribbon of drool forming at the corner of my mouth and an expression of vapidness as I ponder this.
So instead, I’ve decided to write about something that was confirmed to me at the conference, something that may be the most seismic, earth-shattering thing of all: We give the devil far, far too much focus.
God gave me a little vision this morning before I was even out of bed.
“I MUST finish this series, God.” Say I. “Please O’ Holy God of the Universe, help me understand perichorises so that I can actually share these deep and abiding truths with my readers!”
To which God oh-so-customarily provides me with a completely random idea: The Wizard of Oz.
(One of the greatest misinformations in the world today is that being a Christian is boring and staid. To the contrary, God always keeps it interesting. He comes up with some far-out stuff….)
“I’m not interested in your readers thinking you’re smart, dear one.” I feel Him convey to my spirit. “I’m interested in you reminding them where to focus.”
He re-directed me to a message I’ve recently been imparted – that we spend so much time and energy talking about Spiritual Warfare that we forget it isn’t all about the devil and his demons.
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her band of assorted and very needy creatures set off on a long journey that focuses on one thing: The Wizard. The activity of the mighty, all-controlling Wizard will bring resolution. We don’t like to think we give the devil his due to this degree, but often times, we do.
Oh, the devil has got me down
The devil won’t let up on me.
The devil is causing this or that heartache.
And you are probably right about those things. There is no doubt a battle in the Heavenlies for you. Again, Spiritual Warfare is a real, important thing.
But the MOST important players in it are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (hey, I DID reference perichoresis!) They are the Focus.
Because ultimately, when we complete this crazy Earth Journey in which we learn to love God and each other, the devil has already been defeated.
The devil roars and prowls like a lion, but It is Finished, and he knows it. He is an old, devious, evil – but toothless – lion.
Remember the ending of The Wizard of Oz? This is the guy who has everyone quaking in fear:
Dorothy and co-horts are SHOCKED to find out (thanks to scrappy little Toto) that The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz is really just a little guy with a lot of bluster in a bad suit hiding in a little booth. His whole persona is creating special effects that make him seem all-powerful.
One of my best friends likes to say this about satan: “Flick that imp off your shoulder.” I just love that visual. How is it possible to do that? Focus on the Triune God and his incredibly true and real love.
Don’t give the devil his ‘due.’ He isn’t ‘due’ anything. You owe him NOTHING. Not even fear! Don’t set off on a journey to find him out. You already know he is just a little guy pulling levers and creating special effects.
You are a child of the Most High King – walk in that favor.
(Here, in summary, is a video by another of the conference speakers, Steve McVey. Please, please watch it if you can. Spiritual warfare is a very real thing. There are angels, there are demons. I’ve really seen some sh*t, frankly. But we manifest what we focus on. Listen to his story about Palmetto bug illustration. Mind blown)
“Sounds extremely spooky but not a very reliable method of forming beliefs,” said he.
Oh, dude. You have no idea how supernatural it really is. My faith is the most reliable thing in my life, far more so than my emotions or book-sense.
Believing in God is risky business. But even that is not enough for me. I crave the intimacy of KNOWING God.
One of the most powerful talking points at The Open Table Conference was about intimacy with the Father. I just eat that up. I’m not content to walk beside Jesus anymore – I want the union whereby He is in my spirit and I am in His. The kind of relationship you simply cannot figure out with the brain, and really don’t need to.
“Some things in life you just aren’t going to be able to think your way through—so you might as well save yourself the stress by simply trusting your way through them.” – Steve McVey (The Grace Walk Devotional)
There’s that “trusting” thing again. Pesky trusting, there is no shortcut to it.
“The Christian God is interested in relationship with us, and not just relationship, but union, and not just union, but such a union that everything He is and has—all glory and fullness, all joy and beauty and unbridled life—is to be shared with us and to become as much ours as it is His. The plan from the beginning, in the Christian vision, is that God would give Himself to us, and nothing less, so that we could be filled to overflowing with the divine life.” — C. Baxter Kruger (Jesus and the Undoing of Adam)
The conversation between my atheist friend and I continued in a few more comment exchanges. He asked me if I thought we had disembodied minds, and I prayed a bit before I answered:
Can I prove that to you? No, I know it in my heart of hearts. Do I need to prove it to you? No. Because you cannot prove something that is true in the Spirit to a mind that is closed off to the possibility of there even BEING a spirit. It’s like proving to you that I am having thoughts about chocolate by showing you my big toe. Yes, my mind and body are related and intertwined, but not exactly the same thing. Different parts of me.
I’ve seen supernatural things, and have not found them lacking in evidence or reality at all! Spooky? Sometimes. Glorious and ethereal? Oh, yes. (I’m a natural-born skeptic, too, believe it or not.)
Can you prove that love exists? Can you bottle it, break down its chemical make-up (yes, I know you can manufacture serotonin, etc. That’s not what I’m talking about.) No. But you can see the manifestations of it all over the place. Ditto evil. Manifested everywhere.
It’s enough to make your brain hurt. If you try to process it only with your brain. The spirit of a person is not their disembodied mind at all.
“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.” – C.S. Lewis.
The crazy thing about faith is that it will respect your wishes. If you wish to hold God at bay by choosing not to take the risk of knowing, you will never know. If you wish to know the Father in the most intimate parts of your spirit, He will meet you there.
Don’t take my word for it that God wants the closest relationship with you possible. Don’t even take these learned Theologians’ words for it. During the entire workshop, we participants were encouraged not only to think for ourselves, but “Ask Jesus if it’s true.”
Ask Him yourself. Approach the throne – He welcomes your curiosity. He honors your seeking of the truth. If you don’t seek, you will not find out it’s true.
“The challenge to have more faith about a specific outcome is often nothing more than a religious promotion for positive thinking.” — Steve McVey (Beyond an Angry God)
It’s easy to call it a myth or a fairy tale, or an exercise in positive thinking. Its easy if you’ve never tasted the truth. But OH! When you know the glory and fullness, all joy and beauty and unbridled life – there’s no going back.
And yes, I consider basing my life around The Truth a very good use of my time.