I've never identified myself as a leader. I've never seen the need to step up and to take charge, long enough for it to have a permanent effect on my life. Well, I would probably know. I'd probably relate something; I mean, it's not like I never led anything before, it's just that nothing really sticks out as a leadership quality that I demonstrated, right now, as I write this.
For the most part, any leading I did came out of necessity... or rather, desperation - in other words, I led only because there was nobody else to lead. And by my standards, which are probably too rigid or made rigid by the standards of the world, I'm not really doing a good job - or, I'd rather say I could do so much better.
There's so much I could do so much better in. Playing the guitar. Singing. Taking photographs. I could do so much better in handling the land which I suppose was assigned to me to manage. I could do so much better in handling and maintaining my finances.
I could do so much better in my job. I say this especially since if I see myself from the viewpoint of my boss, I don't think I'm doing enough to earn the money I make - Of course, the fact that I'm still working for this same boss means that I have been blessed with a really good, really patient boss.
With that said, I could do so much better in marketing skills. I'd like to think that I have a decent grasp of real estate, but the rubber truly hits the road when you are given the responsibility to not just handle transactions pertaining to property, but to sell property.
What I'm learning from the plethora of courses and services my boss has had me go through is pretty simple; actually, it applies to all of the 'I could do so much better' items I've stated so far as much as it would to my supposed role as a 'marketing expert' - 'I could do so much better in caring.'
I could care more. I could actually give a shit. But apparently, right now, you can give me fruits, vegetables, Starcraft II, and time, and I'll be content with my life.
Well, at least that's what I think. The mere fact that I said that I could care more tells me that on a long enough timeline, my creature comforts will no longer be comfortable. That there's more, and so much more to this life than what I currently think.
God, I know all this, but what really peeves me is that I don't have the motivation to move at the speeds that my mind and heart demand.
Then again, I've been preaching on focusing; well, at least I did yesterday. What we established was that (1) as we live we will certainly be focusing on something; (2) we give life to whatever we focus on, and (3) it helps to focus on Christ and His finished work.
Right now, apparently, I'm focusing on how I lack focus and determination, and I'm doing a good job at it, because I'm giving life to it.
So what should I be focusing on right now? Well, I ought to be focused on Christ - if I focus on Christ and how He is constantly focused on me, then I would probably have the right focus... Yeah, I suppose that's a good start.
God was so focused on me that He was thinking about me, how my life was going to turn out, what my struggles, victories, strengths and weaknesses are... all not just before I was born; The Bible says that before the foundation of all things was established, or in other words, before everything that was came into existence, before creation, He was already thinking about me. Not that I was anything special, because He was intimately thinking about each and every one of us, dead and alive, in this era and throughout all time and space.
In His focus and determination He knew that it would take nothing less than His own begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to have what He lost at the Garden of Eden - that is, you and me. Timothy Keller points out that Jesus Christ set aside His Godly attributes to be born and to live as one of us; He lived to a good age, all this time seeing and experiencing all that humanity could possibly experience; He showed us the Truth of who God is, and ultimately laid down His own life, subjecting His being to the most excruciating pain and suffering, enduring eternal torment and anguish; He did all this, for nothing else, for no-one else, than for you, and for me.
The same God who thought about us before the concept of time and space - I'd like to imagine that He was thinking about each and every one of us as He was nailed to the cross. Timothy Keller continues by pointing out the following beautiful passage regarding the Lord's death in Isaiah 53:
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
It was for nothing else than for you and for me that He found satisfaction; He endured eternal suffering and anguish, for nothing less than for you, and for me. As this sinks in, I smile as I imagine our Christ, beaten, battered, bleeding, broken, yet in my own mind possibly smiling as He silently whispered, 'It.. is.. finished.'
Indeed, no greater love has man ever known; Christ has THAT focused, and THAT determined to have us that He literally gave up everything (and His everything is literally EVERYTHING).
How's that for focus?
But let me be perfectly honest right now: I don't feel this message..
The absence of feeling notwithstanding, I recognize how this lack of 'the feels' right now works to my advantage because it actually allows me to focus for real, without depending on the feelings for affirmation. In other words, the lack of feeling right now is actually leading me to focus more...
...and what I've been led to learn regarding focus is that more focus comes from less effort to focus. Or maybe, true focus is found in not focusing at all. Like Musashi would say in his Book of Void - it'd probably be in the lines of, the final step to learning is to forget everything you've learned.
Christ has set me free from the yearning for the feeling in order to feel focused. Because of Christ's finished work, I am guaranteed His presence and His absolute closeness to me 100% of the time, no matter what I feel, no matter what I see in my life. Because of Christ's finished work, I can move, knowing that this is the absolute truth, free of depending on any sort of feeling to know that it's true..
For truth is nothing unless it is the Truth - a proper noun, an entity; more than just a set of tenets, more than theology, more than a mindset... Truth is Jesus Christ himself, and Jesus Christ is Truth... and as Jesus Christ is not dead, as Jesus Christ is alive and forever alive, so the Truth is alive.
With all this said, we have more time on our hands; more time to appreciate and enjoy life with Christ always with us, because we no longer need to worry if He is there. We have more time to focus on what really matters. A wise man in the Dune series said, 'Fear is the mind-killer.' Consequently, in Christ, and because of Christ's finished work ushering His limitless, perfect, everlasting love into our lives, casting out all fear, our minds simply come alive. Following that train of thought, Christ brings our minds into life.
Let's really emphasize something; because of God's love seen in and through none other than His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, we have been born again, introduced into a new life as new creations, with our relationship with God renewed, to the point that Christ is as close as He could ever be, not later, but NOW. Because of Christ, we no longer have to fear..
God's love for us is not only guaranteed, but it is perfect and everlasting. Christ's finished work is no longer the reward of our performance, but the motivation for our good works. Our old selves have died, and we have been born again, setting us free from any thought of us performing to 'die to ourselves'. Christ did everything for God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - to be with us, as close as ever, forever, and ever.
Let's elaborate on that even further! Because Christ has done it all, and because of all Christ has won for us to win us, we are free of thinking if God loves us or not.
We are free of thinking if we've done enough to earn peace.
We are free of ever thinking if what we do is good or bad, because no sin can ever separate us from the love of God - He makes all things work together for our good, even if it means disciplining us in preparation for the future. Consequently, we are free from worrying if God would punish us for our past sins, because sin was punished at the cross once and for all.
We are free, free of doubting our new identity, because our old selves were crucified and slain as Christ was crucified and as Christ died, and we were born again as Christ rose from the dead.
We are free of wondering if God is with us in a certain venture. We are free of doubting that God is with us when we don't feel Him. We are free from trying to pray and sing and speak the Bible just to feel as if He is with us, because Christ with us guarantees that He always blesses us and keeps us.
We are free from fear of anything and absolutely everything - we're free, we're free from looking at everything and easily seeing how it would taint us/our children!
We're free. We're free to do anything we want - Yes, you read that correctly! Yes, there will be consequences to foolish decisions, but you can be sure that one of these consequences is absolutely not God punishing you or taking away His presence from you, or separating from you!
We're free to see the efficacy of our absolute union with Christ, whether we move from glory to glory, in life and righteousness, or when we make our bed in hell, in death and sin! Again, it's God's love through Christ's finished work that guaranteed that absolutely NOTHING now can ever separate us from Him!
We're free! We're free from insecurity, free to look at ourselves in the mirror, and, big belly, small penis, scars, small breasts, attributes contradictory to the world's suggestion of a visually pleasing stature/body/attitude notwithstanding, we are free to look at ourselves as absolutely beloved by God, free to realize that this is all that matters!
We're free, and free indeed, to see the love of Christ in every situation, and to demonstrate the same said love for others to see! We're free to see the parallels between the stories of the world and the great and glorious finished work of Christ!
In my desire to wrap this all together, I will say this: Christ is our Everything, which means that we have forever to understand each and every facet of what that actually means... and in this particular moment, I've come to put together how Christ is our Freedom.
We're past the fact that Christ doesn't give us our blessings, He doesn't give us favor, He doesn't love us in the sense that He gives it to us as if it were a resource. We're past saying that we are merely blessed, favored, and loved by God - It's just that Christ Himself is the greatest blessing given to us by God, and through Christ the greatest favor we could ever experience is seen in how we are loved by God; from one of billions and trillions of perspectives we see how His love is through our absolute, inseparable union with Christ, who is as close to us now as He could ever be.
This is where we see that above all things, we are free from fear, and we are free to bask in His perfect love. This is the freedom we have through Christ - this is the Freedom that is Jesus Christ.
True, that I do have much to work on; I have my own faults and areas of improvement - I could and would do so much better in so many little details - but in each and every one of these things, Christ is present and is first and foremost, not by my doing, but by default. We as people who want to see change happen for the better in so many ways and in so many levels would do very well to change the way we think about God, by focusing on the love He has for us, seen in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of none other that His own begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
High on the mountain
I will be lifting my voice
and in the valley
I will be dancing for joy
In every season,
You are worthy
In every moment,
- 'Mountain' by Brian & Katie Torwalt
NEXT: Free from fear / Free to love
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May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26