We live in a world that view wholeness as circumstantial. In place of the word wholeness, we have learned to substitute happiness or comfort. So, being complete is not a state of being, but rather an emotional state.
When we bring this view into our relationship with Jesus who is the source of our wholeness, we then place the mantle of responsibility for our circumstances upon his shoulders.
In our minds the shift may be subtle or not so subtle. If Jesus loves me, then the things in my life should be ok; everything should work out fine. Whether we apply to mindset to parenting, our jobs, healing, addiction, the state of our relational life, the growth of our church or ministry, etc., we have made our devotion completely conditional.
In return for our faithfulness, we expect God to restore our circumstances so that we can be happy. Instead of conforming to the image of Christ, we would rather add Jesus to who we already are. Just enough Jesus sprinkled in to make things work out.
But, what happens when things don’t ‘work out’? How do we respond when Jesus does not enable our false sense of identity?
Frustration with God. Accusing God of withholding what we know is best for us. This may lead to an epic wrestling match with God for control.
Questioning God’s presence. We pray for band-aids. God does not enable our false self. Many times what we deem unanswered prayer is God leading us to a deeper awareness.
Living in anxiety. If my circumstances are not changing or something bad does happen, does that mean I am not following God correctly? This is my own spiritual stumbling block: I feel like if I try harder to do the right things, I will get the right results.
Turning to other sources of wholeness. If Jesus won’t fix my circumstances, then I’ll look for something else that will. We live in a culture that promises a set of steps to fix any problem. Who cares if the problem is a symptom of something deeper?
Searching for wholeness in things outside of us will lead to the withering of our interior life. Much like the picture of the palm tree at the top of this post. Wholeness does come from God, but that does not imply trials and hardships will be taken away.
God’s image illuminates our lives. Wholeness comes from understanding that our worth comes from him and experiencing that as he lives within us. With this reality comes the expectation that God will tirelessly work to chip away our false self. Prying our grip from what we cling to will be a painful process at times. Adopting a new mindset and behaviors will be awkward.
In the end you will be relieved of the exhaustion and futility of trying to do things your own way, in your own strength.
What area(s) of your life do you still use circumstances to evaluate the effectiveness of your life in Christ? What is God communicating to you through your frustration or anxiety?
I am an author, discipleship coach, and speaker who helps followers of Jesus gain perspective on their identities so they can experience transformation in their decisions, behaviors and relationships and live in freedom. My book Tree of Lies: Transforming Decisions, Behaviors, and Relationships By Gaining Perspective On Your Identity in Christ available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2bjMRyx) or Barnes and Noble (http://bit.ly/2c0q62I). Visit TreeofLies.com for free resources.
Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, workshops on marriage/discipleship/leadership, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.